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UC Santa Cruz Receives Gift to Establish Baskin Foundation Presidential Chair for Feminist Studies

By Scott Rappaport

UC Santa Cruz has received a $500,000 gift from the Peggy and Jack Baskin Foundation, plus matching funds from the UC Regents, to establish the $1 million Peggy and Jack Baskin Foundation Presidential Chair for Feminist Studies.

The endowed chair will help to fund research and teaching in feminist studies, as well as provide support for graduate fellowships.

Bettina Aptheker, distinguished professor of feminist studies at UC Santa Cruz, was honored as the inaugural appointee to the Presidential Chair at an investiture ceremony that took place yesterday at the Stevenson Event Center.

A scholar of history with a national reputation for her talents as an instructor, Aptheker taught one of the country’s largest and most influential introductory feminist studies courses for nearly three decades at UC Santa Cruz.

She received her Ph.D. in History of Consciousness from UC Santa Cruz and went on to become the first ladder-rank faculty member of the Feminist Studies Department (then known as Women’s Studies) in 1987.

“It is a great honor to be named as the inaugural chair of the Peggy and Jack Baskin Foundation Presidential Chair for Feminist Studies,” said Aptheker. “It’s a wonderful moment for the Feminist Studies department as it continues to grow faculty, and its graduate program. The field has expanded intellectually in new and innovative directions–influencing knowledge in everything from art to physics, from literature to anthropology, to critical race and ethnic studies.”

“Feminist Studies constantly interrogates and transforms itself,” Aptheker added. “And it continues to inform a teaching and social justice practice that we hope empowers our students and engages deeply with the larger community. This endowment is particularly vital in allowing us to fund our graduate students, and to bring distinguished visiting scholars and activists to UCSC to enrich both our program and the campus as a whole. We are so grateful to the foundation for this singular honor.”

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