UConn Receives $1M Gift and Match Challenge for Human Rights Institute

Gary Gladstein ’66 (CLAS), ’08 (HON) and his wife Dr. Phyllis Gladstein

Gary Gladstein ’66 (CLAS), ’08 (HON) and his wife Dr. Phyllis Gladstein

The Human Rights Institute (HRI) at UConn is kicking off a matching gift challenge with support from longtime donors Gary Gladstein ’66 (CLAS), ’08 (HON) and his wife Dr. Phyllis Gladstein. The couple, whose generous giving spans the last 22 years, has committed $1 million as an outright gift plus an additional match to inspire giving by others. They will match gifts dollar for dollar to the Human Rights Institute, up to $1 million, over the next three years.

“How extraordinary that our family contribution in 1998 sponsoring a visiting professor in human rights would grow far beyond our expectation to become one of the premier human rights programs in the world,” says Gary Gladstein.

“We feel privileged to continue to support the Human Rights Institute with its dedicated faculty, motivated students, and most supportive administration. During this troubled time of pandemic and social unrest, the work of the Human Rights Institute is more important than ever.”

Daniel Weiner, vice president for global affairs, noted that the longstanding relationship between the Gladsteins and HRI is “a profound example of transformative giving that is having important societal impacts in Connecticut, the United States, and around the world.” He underscored that this new gift and fundraising challenge is “an opportunity to further enhance UConn’s reputation as a global leader in human rights research, teaching, and practice.”

The match campaign will enable HRI to continue to build its endowment, which has provided a sustainable resource for undergraduate and graduate student fellowships, support for experiential learning opportunities, and funding for programming and faculty research on cutting-edge issues related to human rights.

Recent HRI seed grant awardee professor Prakash Kashwan (above, rshows that conservation of forests like this one in Chiapas, Mexico, happens when we protect the rights of the people who rely on them

Recent HRI seed grant awardee professor Prakash Kashwan, shows that conservation of forests like this one in Chiapas, Mexico, happens when we protect the rights of the people who rely on them.

“We are tremendously grateful for the generosity of Gary and Dr. Phyllis Gladstein and their remarkable commitment to UConn, to scholarship, and to the cause of human rights,” says President Thomas Katsouleas. “The Human Rights Institute is one of UConn’s signature programs, and its work has only grown more urgent since it was established.”

The gift will also enable the Institute to launch a human rights practitioner-in-residence program and provide funding for seed grants to faculty members who are applying their research expertise to projects that advance human rights research, monitoring, and reporting. One recent seed grant was awarded to associate professor of political science Prakash Kashwan for his work to help countries protect their poorest citizens against the effects of climate change.

The Human Rights Institute is a national leader, with one of the largest interdisciplinary programs. And UConn is the only public university offering a human rights major. The Gladsteins have supported programs across the University — at Hillel, the School of Business, the Division of Athletics, and UConn Health. Their gifts and match commitments to HRI have transformed research and academics at UConn and made an impact in the field of human rights globally.

“The generous support of the Gladstein family over the past two decades has enabled the Institute to become one of the premier programs in the country,” says HRI director Kathryn Libal. “We have attracted stellar faculty to contribute to the academic programs, and our graduates are securing meaningful work in law and government, business, the health sector, and STEM fields. This gift and match challenge will allow us to deepen and expand our work at a critical time in the country.”

Photos by Sonya Revell for UConn Foundation (main)
(in page) Lameiras/Wikipedia; (bottom right) Sean Flynn;


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