Princeton University has announced a $5 million gift from Wendy Schmidt and her husband, alumnus Eric Schmidt ('76), to endow a new professorship of Indigenous studies.
Awarded through the Schwab Charitable Fund in consultation with the Schmidt Family Foundation, the gift will establish the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Professor of Indigenous Studies, an endowed position focused on catalyzing conversations around indigeneity and engaging students and faculty in a wide-ranging dialogue about disparities in health and policy, law and sovereignty, environmental challenges, language and culture, and race and opportunity. Indigenous scholarship at Princeton already engages faculty from across twenty academic disciplines and has featured several interdisciplinary conferences on topics of critical importance to Indigenous peoples, as well as a recently launched website.
Longtime friends of the university, the Schmidts have made gifts in support of Eric and Wendy Schmidt Hall, the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund, and the Schmidt DataX Fund. Eric Schmidt is a former chief executive officer of Google and former executive chair of Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company.
"Eric and I are deeply committed to developing the next generation of leaders and identifying and cultivating talent from all backgrounds — priorities that are closely aligned with Princeton's," said Schmidt Family Foundation president Wendy Schmidt. "The thoughtful study of Indigenous cultures is an essential component of society's reckoning with our own history. It's our hope that this professorship will play a vital role in advancing that complex conversation and will extend and complement Princeton's academic and co-curricular activities, including those that engage and amplify the voices of faculty, students, and alumni from Indigenous backgrounds."
(Photo by Jack Hutch)