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Sengstack Foundation Endows Graduate Fellowship at Rutgers–Camden for Nation’s First PhD Program in Childhood Studies
For Immediate Release
CAMDEN -- The song “Happy Birthday” is known and beloved by untold millions of children worldwide. Now, a charitable foundation established by the family that held the copyright to those iconic lyrics has endowed a graduate fellowship to support PhD students enrolled in the childhood studies program at Rutgers–Camden.
The David K. Sengstack Foundation, based in Princeton, has donated $750,000 to launch the David K. Sengstack Endowed Graduate Fellowship at Rutgers–Camden. The fellowship will seek to attract and support “the best and brightest graduate students” from across the nation to study childhood while pursuing their doctoral degrees at Rutgers–Camden in the nation’s very first PhD program in this burgeoning scholarly discipline.
According to Alice Sengstack, David’s widow, the Sengstack Foundation seeks to support and nurture issues related to children. When she sought to honor the memory of her husband, a 1944 graduate of Rutgers College, the innovative PhD program in childhood studies at Rutgers–Camden seemed to be a natural fit.
“The Sengstack family has a generational commitment to advancing children, through such initiatives as Music Together and the Sengstack Foundation for Early Childhood,” says Sengstack. “It is our sincere desire to encourage and support the study of childhood at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.”
“The generosity of the Sengstack Foundation will allow Rutgers to attract some of the very best PhD students from across the nation and the world to southern New Jersey, where they will be among the vanguard of doctorally trained scholars in childhood studies,” says Michael Palis, interim dean of the Rutgers–Camden Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
“As an academic discipline, childhood studies is to the early 21st century what women’s studies and African American studies were to the mid-20th century. In 2007, Rutgers–Camden made history when it launched the nation’s first PhD program in childhood studies. Rutgers is indebted to the Sengstack Foundation for their visionary support of this critical new program. Their efforts will help to prepare the professors who will define and teach childhood studies across our country during the coming years.”
The first Sengstack Fellowships are expected to be awarded to PhD students for the fall 2009 semester.
In 1989, The Sengstack Group, Ltd., was sold to a Time-Warner subsidiary; the copyrights to more than 50,000 songs were included in that transaction. The company also was known for publishing two very important music teaching methods, Francis Clark and the Suzuki method. After the sale, the David K. Sengstack Foundation was established to promote positive, nurturing experiences for children during the first three years of their lives.
The Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers–Camden offers bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs that put the issues, concepts, and debates surrounding the study of children at the center of its research and teaching missions. Through a multidisciplinary approach, the Rutgers–Camden childhood studies program aims to situate the study of children and childhoods within contemporary cultural and global contexts.
Media Contact: Mike Sepanic