Campus & Community

David Rockefeller gift endows new Coatsworth Fellowships

2 min read

David Rockefeller 36, who recently returned to Cambridge to join classmates for his 70th Harvard reunion, has designated $1 million of his recent $10 million gift to the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies to create a doctoral fellowship program in honor of the centers founding director, John H. Coatsworth, the Monroe Gutman Professor of Latin American Affairs. The fund will also benefit from a $500,000 challenge grant for Latin American history fellowships to the David Rockefeller Center from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Mellon grant, awarded in 2003, required a two-for-one match, and left the name of the new fellowship to be designated by the donor.

The John H. Coatsworth Latin American History Fellowship Fund will form part of the David Rockefeller Center’s endowment. The center will collaborate with the University Committee on General Scholarships to award the fellowships annually. The fellowships may be awarded to third- to sixth-year doctoral students in any discipline or department who specialize in Latin American history, art history, history of science, economic history, and historical sociology, as well as political, legal, or environmental history.

Coatsworth, who has served as the David Rockefeller Center’s director from its creation in 1994, will step down as director on June 30. Merilee Grindle, the Edward S. Mason Professor of International Development in the John F. Kennedy School of Government, will succeed him. Coatsworth, who was named a Harvard College Professor this spring by Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean William C. Kirby, plans to continue teaching and research in the Department of History after taking a sabbatical in 2006-07.

Rockefeller kept secret his decision to endow the new fellowship and name it for Coatsworth until he announced his new gift at a dinner for the center’s Advisory Committee this past May. “I was awestruck,” Coatsworth said later, “not only by David Rockefeller’s generosity, but by his uncanny ability to make the perfect gift. Nothing he could have said or done would have meant more to me or to the center.”