Mellon Foundation maintains support for Rock Ethics Institute summer program

July 12, 2017

A three-year, $660,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the American Philosophical Association (APA) will enable the Rock Ethics Institute to continue offering the Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI) program until at least 2020. The Rock Ethics Institute, located administratively in the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, has offered the PIKSI program to undergraduates since 2006.

APA launched PIKSI to encourage students from groups underrepresented in philosophy—people of color, LGBTQ people, women, people with disabilities, and people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds—to pursue advanced studies in philosophy and continue on to the professoriate. In addition to providing three additional years of funding to PIKSI Rock (the name used to promote the program offered by the Rock Ethics Institute), the grant will provide three additional years of funding for PIKSI Boston—a program offered jointly by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Massachusetts Boston since 2015.

The renewal grant also allows the APA to continue to provide infrastructure that supports PIKSI and other undergraduate diversity institutes and their alumni through networking and professional development opportunities, outreach and promotion, and data gathering efforts.

“We are delighted by the Mellon Foundation’s continued support for, and recognition of, PIKSI Rock,” said Ted Toadvine, the Nancy Tuana Director of the Rock Ethics Institute. “The Summer Institute has transformed the field of philosophy measurably over the last decade and will have a lasting impact on how philosophers think and teach for generations to come.”

The Rock Ethics Institute, established in 2001 with a gift from Doug and Julie Rock, has helped make Penn State a world leader in ethically informed research and educational efforts.  In addition to its involvement in PIKSI, the institute integrates ethics initiatives across the University, including partnerships spanning the sciences, engineering, humanities, and social sciences.  Additional information about the institute can be found at

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Last Updated July 12, 2017