Mellon Foundation awards $1.775 million to language center

Instruction in less commonly taught languages at the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages—from Albanian to Zulu—got a big boost from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The foundation has awarded Five Colleges $1.775 million toward developing a sustainable income for the center. Of the award, $1 million is a challenge grant to match $2 million to be raised by the consortium to create an endowment for the Center.  The income from the endowment, when combined with ongoing support from the five campuses, will support the center’s operations in perpetuity. Included in the award is an additional $775,000 to provide operating funds until the endowment investments begin to pay off. See accompanying article below about the endowment fundraising campaign. 

“We are profoundly grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for this generous award,” said Neal Abraham, executive director of Five Colleges. “It represents endorsement by the foundation of the success of the center and demonstrates the foundation’s confidence that together we will secure the center’s financial future. This grant is a fitting capstone for this vital consortium program that has enjoyed deep support from the foundation for many years as it developed new pedagogical approaches to an increased range of languages.”

With origins dating back to 1987, the Center for the Study of World Languages combines independent study with conversation partners and mentoring by native speakers. Student enrollment in the 54 languages and dialects offered by the center has set a record (over 300) for the second year in a row. 

Check out photos from the Center's language tutorials in our SmugMug gallery.

Endowment campaign for language center announced

Five Colleges has announced the start of a $3 million endowment campaign for its Center for the Study of World Languages. For every $2 raised, the Mellon Foundation has pledged to give $1, up to $1 million.

With hundreds of students each year studying less commonly taught languages there, the center is one of the consortium’s most popular programs. The flexibility created by its independent study approach to language learning allows students to choose when and where they study. When fully funded, the endowment will generate income that covers about a third of the center’s budget. 

Joint language faculty members

One of the most effective ways the campuses collaborate to increase curricular offerings and program strength while conserving resources is through the Five College Joint Faculty Appointment program. There are 40 joint faculty members at the consortium in 25 different fields. Joint appointees are employed by one campus and teach at one or more additional campuses on a rotating basis. Of the total, 13 teach languages—Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew and Russian—and 5 are funded in part by a 2015 $2 million Mellon Foundation grant to develop initiatives for innovations in teaching and learning of languages.


Heba Arafah, Mount Holyoke (all)
May George, Smith (all)
Mohamed Hassan, Amherst (all)
Nahla Khalil, UMass (all)
John Weinert, Smith (all)

Joanna Caravita, Smith (UM)

Fumiko Brown, Amherst (all)

Shihyun Kim, Mount Holyoke (SC, UM)
Suk Massey, Smith (MHC)
Chan Young Park, UMass (MHC)

Evgeny Dengub, Smith (UM)
Irina Kogel, Mount Holyoke (SC, UM)
Susanna Nazarova, Mount Holyoke (SC)