The Office of the Chancellor is pleased to announce the spring 2023 recipients of the Sesquicentennial Grant Program, which was created to support activities and projects that engage with the university’s history, look ahead to its future and explore what makes Vanderbilt distinctive and unique.
Remembering and Archiving Vanderbilt’s History through New Play Development and Performance with Vanderbilt University Theatre
This project’s team members will meet with a cross section of the university community to gather stories about their Vanderbilt experiences, which then will be developed with the help of current students into a full-length play to be performed during Vanderbilt University Theatre’s 2024–25 season.
- Christin Essin, associate professor of theatre
- Jessica Owens, alumna, playwright, dramaturg, producer and theatre administrator
- Will Bonfiglio, alumnus, theatre artist and educator
An Outdoor Teaching Lab Honoring 150 Years of Earth-Science Research and Education at Vanderbilt University
This grant will support the creation of a rock installation near Garland Hall that will serve as an outdoor teaching laboratory for students in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The installation also will provide historical context and narratives on various issues, including land use, economics of resource extraction and modern climate change.
- Steven Goodbred, Stevenson Professor and chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Paul Stob, professor of communication studies and chair of the Program in American Studies
- Daniel Morgan, principal senior lecturer in Earth and environmental sciences and associate dean of the College of Arts and Science
- Neil Kelley, assistant professor of Earth and environmental sciences and co-director of undergraduate studies
- Kevin Hooper, administrative manager in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Constance Priddy, Ph.D. student in the Department of History
Queer Commodores: Uncovering the LGBTQ+ History of Vanderbilt University
This project seeks to educate and empower the Vanderbilt community and the wider Nashville area through a physical exhibition and an online companion exhibit that will shed light on erased and unpublished queer stories from the university’s past.
- Sarah Calise, metadata librarian at the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries
- Shawn Reilly, trans buddy coordinator in the Program for LGBTQ Health at Vanderbilt
- Steph Mahnke, director of the Office of LGBTQI Life
The Vanderbilt Nonprofit Network: Tracking and Celebrating Vanderbilt’s Influence on Communities
This project will create a database of Vanderbilt community members who have founded or led nonprofit organizations. The grant also will support opportunities to tell the individual stories of these nonprofits and their impacts, as well as fund the first Vanderbilt Nonprofit Leaders Recognition Ceremony.
- Schyler Turrin, associate director of executive projects in Government and Community Relations
- Midori Lockett, chief community impact officer in Government and Community Relations
- Sally Parker, chief of staff in Government and Community Relations
- Jesse Blocher, professor of the practice at Owen Graduate School of Management
- Eric Rothdeutsch, director of data analytics in Development and Alumni Relations
- Gena Cobble, chief of staff in Development and Alumni Relations
Black Peabody Museum
This project will capture the experiences, contributions and accomplishments of Black Peabody students, faculty and staff through museum-style installations featuring text, photos, videos and interactive exhibits.
- Hasina Mohyuddin, assistant dean of equity, diversity and inclusion at Peabody College
- Eliza Blades, assistant director of the Peabody Office of Student Engagement and Well-being
- Cameron Stokes, president of the Peabody Coalition of Black Graduates
- David Golann, librarian for psychological sciences and special education at Peabody Library
- MaKenzie Mosby, treasurer of the Peabody Coalition of Black Graduates
- Morgan Spellman, vice president of the Peabody Coalition of Black Graduates
A Legacy of Integrity: The Role of the Undergraduate Honor Council in Vanderbilt’s History
This project will illuminate the honor system’s integral role in building the university’s strong academic profile over the past 150 years, educate Undergraduate Honor Council members on the latest research and best practices in the field of academic integrity and strengthen the council’s outreach initiatives.
- Mabel Cummins, outgoing president of the Undergraduate Honor Council
- Victoria He, Undergraduate Honor Council member
- Thomas Richardson, Undergraduate Honor Council member
- Aaditi Lele, Undergraduate Honor Council member
- Marissa McGillis, assistant director for academic integrity in the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity
- Jeremy Bourgoin, director of the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity
Evolution at Vanderbilt: A Historical Perspective
This project will explore the history of evolutionary studies at Vanderbilt through a cross-disciplinary virtual museum using 3D photogrammetry, images and captivating storytelling.
- Andrew Flick, scientific coordinator for the Evolutionary Studies Initiative
Dare to Grow, Lead, and Thrive at Vanderbilt: From the Frontline to the Sideline to the Boardroom
This grant will provide support for students to learn about past leaders from Vanderbilt and the local community, interact with and learn from the university’s current leaders, and receive training on leadership as they head toward their careers.
- Jill Stratton, assistant provost for residential education and associate dean for residential colleges
V150: The Many Faces of Vanderbilt
This project will result in a series of photographs of Vanderbilt community members who have made significant contributions to the university in areas such as academics, athletics, research and philanthropy. The portraits will be displayed in the libraries across campus.
- John Russell, director of visual media in Communications and Marketing
- Jason Routhier, art director in Communications and Marketing
- Jon Shaw, university librarian
- Zack Eagles, creative director in Communications and Marketing
- Glenna Underhill, project manager in Communications and Marketing
Strong Inside: The Story of Perry Wallace (a Nashville Children’s Theatre production for young audiences)
This project’s team members will work with Nashville Children’s Theatre to develop and produce the world-premiere stage adaptation of Andrew Maraniss’ New York Times bestselling biography of Perry Wallace, Strong Inside, introducing thousands of young Middle Tennessee students and families to Wallace’s inspirational story.
- Anneliese DeDiemar, associate director of Development and Alumni Relations Communications
- Andrew Maraniss, special projects
Producing Democratic Citizens: A History of Debate, Deliberation, and Dialogue at Vanderbilt University
This project will explore and digitize university archives to document Vanderbilt’s rich history of fostering debate, deliberation and dialogue on campus.
- John Koch, senior lecturer in communication studies and director of debate
- ML Sandoz, principal senior lecturer in communication studies and director of forensics
- Gavin Gill, head debate coach
- Kaylee Kohlmaier, alumna and attorney in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Defender’s Office
- Kamie Lightburn, alumna and entrepreneur
Let’s Keep Talking: Immersive Small Talk to Support Networking Skills
This grant will support the creation of a virtual/augmented reality workplace prototype that can help multilingual students develop the small-talk conversation skills needed for networking.
- Susan Barone, director of the English Language Center
- Jim Cracraft, assistant director of the English Language Center
- Sandra Bancroft-Billings, assistant director of the English Language Center
- Michelle Perdomo, postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Psychology and Human Development
Promoting Academic Excellence through Experiential Learning in Cancer
The aim of this project is to celebrate the history of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center while encouraging the development of the next generation of physician educators and scientists through an immersive teaching experience that pairs VICC research fellows with Vanderbilt students.
- Michelle Grundy, assistant professor of medical education and administration
- Ben Park, Benjamin F. Byrd Professor of Oncology and professor of medicine
- Mia Cecala, undergraduate student
Sabana Larga Water Supply Project
The goal of this project is to create a water distribution system that will provide accessible and safe drinking water to all residents of Sabana Larga, a rural farming community in Nicaragua.
- Christopher Lofts, vice president of external affairs for the Vanderbilt Chapter of Engineers Without Borders USA
- Anna Berger Romeu, president of the Vanderbilt Chapter of Engineers Without Borders USA
- Brandon Dorsey, project manager for the Vanderbilt Chapter of Engineers Without Borders USA
- Matthew McPhail, project manager for the Vanderbilt Chapter of Engineers Without Borders USA
Somos VU: Bringing Together Student Organizations, Alumni, and the Institutional History of CLACXt
This project aims to create a mural, a digital photo archive and a narrative timeline that document the history of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies at Vanderbilt.
- Avery Dickins de Girón, executive director of CLACX
- Celso Castilho, associate professor of history and director of CLACX
- Marshall Eakin, professor of history