Scholarship established in honor of Dr. Geetha Ramanathan

Honored as one of WCU's 150 most influential women a year prior to her death, Geetha contributed so much to the university, students and the community who came together to celebrate her life in October.

To continue to honor this amazing woman, the Geetha Ramanathan Endowment has been established here at West Chester University which will offer a scholarship to support undergraduate students studying English or Women's and Gender Studies, ensuring Geetha's legacy here at West Chester University. If you are able, the family would be deeply grateful for any contribution you can make to the endowment.

Contribute to the Geetha Ramanathan Endowment

The grant is part of the Mellon Foundation’s Affirming Multivocal Humanities initiative, which has allocated more than $18 million to support humanities-based learning at public colleges and universities across the nation. WCU’s grant will fund the creation of the Women’s and Gender Studies Collection, an innovative open educational resource that aims to publish and provide free and reliable information on race, gender, and sexuality.

The Women’s and Gender Studies Collection is the brainchild of Lisa Huebner, a WCU professor of women’s and gender studies. Dr. Huebner learned about the Mellon Foundation’s call for proposals in May 2023 from her department chair, Professor Joan Woolfrey, and quickly applied. The grant was awarded at the end of July 2023.

The Mellon Foundation grant has already supported a series of free, open-to-the-public events that brought internationally renowned scholars, activists, and writers to WCU, with future events coming in fall 2024. 

The Women’s and Gender Studies Collection will serve students, faculty, and staff within the discipline of women’s and gender studies as well as educators, families, and individuals beyond higher education, Huebner said. The collection will feature a wide range of formats including written, artistic, and audio/video materials that focus on the dissemination of free, trustworthy, and valid information about race, gender, and sexuality.

Receiving the Mellon Foundation grant is a dream come true for Huebner. She has spent her career, including several years in nonprofit work before joining WCU in 2007, making knowledge about race, gender, and sexuality free, accessible, and applicable to all. “This project represents something I’ve tried to do throughout my entire professional life: bridging the gap between academic discourse and real-world application,” she said. “This site will be scholarly and offer content that’s accessible and engaging. Families will be able to use it, as well as teachers and even teenagers.”

The inspiration for the collection is rooted in a conviction that providing accurate information about race, gender, and sexuality is crucial, especially in the current political and social climate, Huebner said. She has tapped several WCU departments and colleagues to collaborate on the project, including the Teaching and Learning Center and the Center for Women and Gender Equity.