Alumni establish new chair

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences alumni Linda and Harlan Martens donated $1 million to establish the Endowed Director’s Chair for the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation donated an additional $1.5 million to the institute.

Peter Mancall, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, vice dean for the humanities and professor of history and anthropology, holds the newly endowed director’s chair.

“Harlan and Linda are great supporters of USC and really stepped up to the challenge,” Mancall told USC News. “Their support relieves us of the day-to-day need to raise funding for institute programming. We conduct a wide range of programs, and this endowment provides the security to enable us to fulfill the promise that the Mellon Foundation saw in us 10 years ago.”

EMSI advances interdisciplinary research on human societies around the world between 1450 and 1850 in history, art history, literature and music. The institute was founded in 2003 and maintains a partnership with the Huntington Library.

“Longtime champions of USC, Linda and Harlan Martens have made an incredible investment that will allow the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute to pursue the ongoing research and programming for which it has become so widely esteemed,” Dornsife Dean Steve Kay told USC News.

The Martens met at USC and have supported USC financially through contributions including a donation to Martens Plaza, which is in front of Leavey Library. They often take friends to visit Huntington Library.

“Given our tie-in with Huntington Library, this funding opportunity resonated with us,” Harlan Martens told USC News.

As chief attorney of producing operations for Exxon Mobil, Harlan has traveled to 65 countries. His wife commented that USC has had a global effect as a university.

“USC has been near and dear to our hearts our whole lives,” said Linda Martens, a former national president of the National Charity League told USC News. “USC is making a mark not just in Southern California, but across the country and the world. It’s a great pleasure to be a part of it.”


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