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Hendrix Receives $500,000 Grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

CONWAY, Ark. (January 9, 2017) – Hendrix College has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to be expended over approximately three years, to support the College’s diversity and inclusion efforts. 

Those efforts include introducing inclusive pedagogies, diversifying the curriculum, and developing engaged learning experiences in diverse and multicultural settings for students.

The Mellon grant will provide new support to recruit and retain a more diverse faculty.

The grant will also enhance academic support services for Hendrix Aspire Scholarship recipients, which covers the full cost of attendance for Pell Grant-eligible students from partner institutions and organizations. Fifty percent of Aspire Scholars are underrepresented minorities, and 36 percent are first-generation college students.

With the grant’s support, a new Office of Community Partnerships will expand partnerships and internship opportunities for community-based learning in diverse and multicultural settings, including the Arkansas Delta.

A new Minority Alumni Network will connect minority alumni to academic life on campus by inviting them to be guest speakers, lecturers, and performers, and inspiring them to provide new internship, service learning, and research opportunities to current Hendrix students.

Other items supported by the Mellon grant include:

  • Departmental initiative grants to allow each academic department to identify and address discipline-specific challenges related to diversity and inclusion.
  • Faculty course development grants for new course development or the revision of existing courses supportive of inclusive content and pedagogy.
  • Faculty development events and workshops focused on inclusive pedagogy.

“Increasing the diversity and inclusiveness of our community at every level is one of our highest priorities,” said Hendrix President Bill Tsutsui. “We are so grateful to the Mellon Foundation for recognizing this critical need and supporting our work to make Hendrix more welcoming to all.”

The Mellon grant follows the growing diversity of the Hendrix student body. Currently, overall minority student enrollment is 19.7 percent. Minority student enrollment for the class entering in fall 2016 was 22.2 percent; 32 percent of new students are Pell-eligible and 16 percent are first-generation college students.

The Mellon grant also follows several recent steps to increase diversity and inclusion at Hendrix, Tsutsui added.

In 2016, Hendrix alumna and education professor Dr. Dionne B. Jackson '96 became the College’s first Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. She is the first diversity officer in the Associated Colleges of the South, the academic consortium to which Hendrix belongs, to report directly to the President.

This fall, Hendrix College Board of Trustees formally approved a Statement on Diversity and created a new Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Diversity and inclusion are also represented in the Statement of Purpose and Vision for Student Learning.

Prior to the grant for diversity and inclusion, Hendrix received support from the Mellon Foundation for a variety of initiatives, including studying the writing program, designing The Engaged Citizen course for freshmen, educational technology, and support for interdisciplinary course development.

About Hendrix College

Hendrix College is a private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas. Founded in 1876 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884, Hendrix is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges and is nationally recognized in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings for academic quality, community, innovation, and value. For more information, visit