Nourishing UB's artistic climate

Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian.

Bruce Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor and James Agee Professor of American Culture, and Diane R. Christian, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of English. Photo: Doug Levere.

UB faculty members are committed to current and future students through the classroom and philanthropy.

UB faculty members Diane Christian and Bruce Jackson have recently added a new role to their lengthy résumés: that of philanthropists. The pair has pledged a $1 million bequest commitment to support students of creative and performing arts at UB. Once realized, the pledge will create a scholarship and a fellowship fund for undergraduate and graduate students in the creative arts. The pledge is made in support of the Creative Arts Initiative (CAI), a new UB program that brings world-class creative and performing artists to the university for on-campus residencies.

Through their pledged gift, the couple will honor their mothers by naming the two awards for them: the Julia Jackson Scholarship in the Creative and Performing Arts, and the Ruth Christian Graduate Fellowship in the Arts.

“We want very much to stoke the artistic climate at UB,” Christian says. Jackson agrees. “There hasn’t been much money at UB in the arts in recent years: not much for visiting creative artists, not much in dedicated scholarship and fellowship support for students in those fields. This provides some of the latter. Most of our students work, some at two and even three jobs. They need the help.”

“It is our hope that our gift will encourage other people to make similar gifts to the university,” Jackson says.