UMass Amherst Receives $5 Million Pledge From Alumni

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has announced a $5 million bequest from alumni and longtime supporters Pamela ('69) and Robert ('68) Jacobs.

Half of the gift, which will be counted toward the university‚Äôs $300 million fundraising campaign, will be used to establish the Pamela M. and Robert D. Jacobs Chair in Judaic and Near Eastern Studies within the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, while the other half will support scholarships in Judaic and Near Eastern Studies; programming in the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies; and UMass Hillel, which offers programming and resources for Jewish students.

The couple provided early operating funds and an endowment that enabled the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies to open in 2011 and before that funded the creation of the Center for Jewish Studies Endowment and the Robert and Pamela Jacobs Annual Lecture Series in Jewish Culture.

The focus of the new endowed chair will be the Bible and Rabbinics, said Jay Berkovitz, chair of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies. "An endowed chair in Bible and Rabbinics is especially important because it will launch the study of ancient Jewish civilization on our campus and will surely stimulate interest in its broader cultural implications for the fields of history, literature, philosophy, and religion. We are also thrilled that Pamela and Robert have created a scholarship fund to support study at Israeli universities and at other institutions in the U.S. and abroad."