Richards Civil War Era Center meets annual NEH Challenge Grant goal

August 12, 2008

University Park, Pa. -- The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center within Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts has met its fund-raising goal of $1.1 million for the third year of its four-year challenge grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH).

A recipient of one of the NEH's largest We the People Challenge Grants ever, the Richards Center aims to raise a total of $3 million by next February in order to capture $1 million in NEH funding. Over the first three years of the challenge, alumni and friends have committed a total of more than $2.4 million.

"The NEH grant is a great honor that recognizes the expertise and accomplishments of the Center and Penn State," said George Richards, who with his wife, Ann, endowed the center in 2002. "We're very fortunate that we've met our next mark. It's a wonderful moment to look back on our accomplishments and, now that we've done it three times, I'm confident we can do it once more through the generous financial support of alumni and friends of the center."

Richards, a 1954 Penn State graduate, noted the importance the Civil War era played in American history.

"To Ann and me, it's the most important time in our country's history," he said. "Out of it came a different model for democracy; it modernized the whole structure of government. It led to an incredible economic boom, the creation of the trans-continental railroad, and much more. Knowledge of that era and the changes it brought touches our lives every day."

The Richards Center is the nation's preeminent center for the academic study not only of the Civil War but also of the social, political, cultural, and economic aspects of the 19th century. In addition to its academic undertakings, the center provides training and resources for secondary school teachers, and serves as a central location for researchers nationwide to share their studies and findings. The Richards Center also hosts the Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture and Book Series, and offers hands-on experiences for students through internships at national historic sites associated with the Civil War.

Funds raised during the four-year campaign will go largely to supporting students through internships, as well as recruiting, retaining, and placing the center's outstanding graduate students.

Visit for more information about the Richards Center.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009