From left: Dorrance Dean Alain-Philippe Durand, Bennett Dorrance, Jacquelynn Dorrance and President Robert C. Robbins. Photo by Ruben Aguirre, Dorrance Foundation for Education.

Alumni Jacquelynn and Bennett Dorrance have made a gift commitment of $5.4 million to endow the deanship of the University of Arizona College of Humanities in support of efforts to integrate traditional and cutting-edge approaches into humanities teaching and learning. 

Project overview

The Fearless Inquiries Project is a long-term, flagship effort specifically aimed at catalyzing a national culture that prizes open discussion, independent judgement and the questioning of stubborn assumptions. The gift is meant to be a platform from which the dean "will be able to bring the humanities to the forefront of the University of Arizona's life and mission through a continuous and fearless spirit of open inquiry."

The project initiatives made possible by the endowment include:

  • The College of Humanities Perspectives Series
  • The Dorrance Dean's Award for Opening the Canon
  • The Dorrance Dean's Award for Research & Entrepreneurialism
  • The Dorrance Dean’s Award for Humanists in Residence

We will ensure humanities remain at the core of the curriculum, and apply the essential skills we teach in the humanities across all professions, industries and fields, and to the world at large. We are guided by the belief that critical thinking, intercultural competence, adaptability, communication, multilingualism, creativity and problem solving are the skills that will prepare graduates in the humanities to be competitive job applicants and also more engaged and productive members of society as they address our global grand challenges and endeavor to make the world a better place.


Perspectives Series

The College of Humanities Perspectives Series will invite speakers from different perspectives to discuss topics important to the College, University and community. Speakers will present a wide range of ideas and opinions, with audience members encouraged to challenge their own ideas as they consider a variety of other perspectives.  


Dorrance Dean’s Award for Opening the Canon

The Dorrance Dean’s Award for Opening the Canon recognizes and supports faculty in the College of Humanities who are doing cutting edge curricular (re)design work that incorporates in novel ways texts that have been widely recognized as having enduring value and significance.

Jacqueline Barrios, Public & Applied Humanities
Anita Huizar-Hernández, Spanish & Portuguese

Dorrance Dean’s Award for Research & Entrepreneurialism

The Dorrance Dean’s Award for Research & Entrepreneurialism (DARE) recognizes faculty members in the College of Humanities whose work is groundbreaking, and that dramatically demonstrates new ways of thinking in, through, and with the humanities. The future-focused DARE Program encourages research-oriented initiatives that are fantastic yet achievable.

Kristy Slominski, Religious Studies

Dorrance Dean’s Award for Scholar/Specialist-in-Residence

Part of the Fearless Inquiries Project, the Dorrance Dean’s Award for Scholar/Specialist-in-Residence will support one selected humanist to visit for up to six weeks and no less than 1 week during AY 23-24.  

"With Mrs. and Mr. Dorrance's support, we aim to expand our reputation for offering destination academic programs where students from all walks of life will be prepared to succeed in a world where the future – of workplaces, communities, families, and individuals – is informed but not trapped by the past, and where there is a shared awareness that our planet's multitude of languages, cultures, and perspectives together shape our identities as both global and local people.”

―Dorrance Dean Alain-Philippe Durand



Would you like to learn more about the project initiatives and events? Subscribe to the College of Humanities newsletter below.