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Queensborough wins $500K federal grant

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Queensborough Community College announced last week it was one of six community colleges across the country to have been awarded a $500,000 Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The grant, which the college is required to match with $1 million through non-federal fund-raising, will help raise an endowment to support interdisciplinary programs at the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives.

“The Kupferberg Holocaust Center is a mosaic of courageous and sometimes heartbreaking stories,” said Arthur Flug, executive director since 2005 and NEH Challenge Grant project director. “The NEH Challenge Grant will showcase the work of our distinguished faculty as well as allow us to bring in guest scholars who will offer insight and social value to the events of the Holocaust.”

The NEH grant was designed to assist community colleges, which generally struggle to raise endowments.

“The results will enrich the humanities content knowledge and civic engagement of QCC students, deepen the engagement of our faculty with both the international scholarly community and our local community and create models of teaching and learning for institutions nationwide. These efforts will last, in perpetuity, so our community and world will never fall silent again,” said Flug.

The center had been housed in the basement of the school’s library since 1983, and following a $1 million gift from the Kupferbergs a 9,000-square-foot building was opened in 2009 at the entrance of the college. Its permanent collection includes The New York Times articles of Auschwitz survivor Lee Potasinskis’ chronicle of the Holocaust, a Holocaust Torah and an extensive art collection.

The funding marks the first grant awards offered through a new NEH Special Initiative for two-year colleges, which aims to strengthen humanities programs at community colleges, encourage the development of model humanities programs and curricula and broaden the base of financial support for humanities on two-year college campuses.

“This is an unparalleled opportunity to address — through this national award — the cultural, educational and civic needs of our diverse community,” said QCC President Diane Call. “I am delighted that the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives at Queensborough Community College has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities for its unique potential to serve as a national model of excellence for faculty-led efforts to integrate a community college’s cultural offerings and its humanities programs.”

The center’s first major exhibit to open in the fall of 2011 is “The Albanian Rescue of Jews During World War II.” The exhibit will present a compelling record of the courageous saving of Jews in Albania beginning in 1938 and until the end of the war.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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