Mission and History

Nobel Prize-winning writer Orhan Pamuk talks with students at the Athenaeum.


The Gould Center for Humanistic Studies enhances CMC's mission to educate leading minds by providing opportunities for research, study, and experience in art, literature, history, philosophy and other fields as a means to understand and develop the power and use of the imagination. The Gould Center provides mutual research opportunities for students and faculty in the humanities and emphasizes the relationship of the humanities and the moral imagination through special programs in a range of fields including music, art, and literature. The Gould Center accomplishes its goals by sponsoring research and visiting fellowships, lectures, seminars, artistic and musical performances, and traveling fellowships.


The Center for Humanistic Studies was established in 1985 under the guidance of Ricardo Quinones, then professor of comparative literature. The focus of the Center was the exploration of how science, industrialization, and changing values affected literature and the arts since the Renaissance. In 1989, the name of the Center was changed to The Family of Benjamin Z. Gould Center for Humanistic Studies to honor a $2 million grant from the Shirley H. and Benjamin Z. Gould Foundation and the generous support of Mrs. Shirley Gould, her daughter, Barbara Gould, and son, Edward S. Gould '65. The grant allowed for a program of student fellowships, faculty research grants, a visiting fellows program, and seminars.