Vassar received a grant from the Ford Foundation to finance a Ford Scholars Program in the humanities and social sciences, a summer research program.
A bulletin addressed to faculty explained the program and invited research proposals for the following summer:
“The Vassar Ford Scholars Program, funded by the Ford Foundation matching grant, has been established to encourage our students to consider a career in college teaching. The Program provides an opportunity for the student Ford Scholars to work as assistants on faculty-initiated research projects. We expect to name twenty Ford Scholars each year for a ten-year period.
“The model for the Ford Scholars Program is the Undergraduate Research Summer Institution. Since the URSI Program supports research in the natural sciences, the Ford Scholars Program will give preference to faculty and students in the humanities and social sciences, with a special commitment to participation by minority students.”
The student research began in the summer of 1989, and Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Patricia Kenworthy served as it’s inaugural director. While the original Ford matching grant funded only the program’s first ten years, the program continued, funded by gifts, grants and endowed funds.