PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — On the eve of its 40th anniversary, which it will mark during the 2021-22 academic year, Brown University’s Pembroke Center already has two big reasons to celebrate.
The Pembroke Center, a hub of research on gender and sexuality that brings together scholars from multiple fields of study, received its largest gift to date this spring. In July, it will welcome an accomplished humanities scholar as its new director, a role endowed for the first time ever by the new gift.
The $5 million gift from Shauna McKee Stark, a Class of 1976 Brown graduate and member of the Pembroke Center Advisory Council, will permanently endow the center’s director position and bolster programming that influences the way questions of gender, sexuality and difference are addressed in scholarship and society.
Taking the helm as the inaugural Shauna McKee Stark ’76 P ’10 Director of the Pembroke Center is Leela Gandhi, a professor of the humanities and English at Brown. Gandhi, a literary and cultural theorist whose research and teaching focuses on the legacies of colonialism, will begin her three-year term on July 1. She succeeds Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, a professor of comparative literature and Italian studies, who has led the center since 2014.
University President Christina H. Paxson said the gift will enable the center to continue breaking down gender, sexuality, race and other barriers through research and engagement that transcend fields of study.
“The Pembroke Center brings together people from across disciplines to engage with ideas that are important to the world and demand diverse perspectives,” Paxson said. “By making this profound investment, Shauna Stark underscores the importance of research and teaching on women’s history and feminist scholarship, and enables the center to grow and build on its initiatives that serve students, scholars and the public.”