Gift creates KSU Human Origins Study Institute

November 12, 2002

KENT, Ohio - Kent State University will establish a unique, interdisciplinary institute dedicated to the study of how and why the human species emerged during the last seven million years.

A gift of $6.8 million from Bruce P. and Pamela Ferrini in honor of their late son will enhance Kent State's expertise in biological anthropology by establishing the Matthew Ferrini Institute for Human Evolutionary Research.

No academic center currently exists that uses interdisciplinary collaboration to study human evolution in the manner that will be the focus of the Ferrini Institute. It will combine new knowledge from such fields as biological anthropology, genetics, neuroanatomy, psychology, embryology, and even animal behavior. Stunning discoveries have been made in the past decade, which have greatly illuminated the process of human evolution, said Dr. C. Owen Lovejoy, University Professor, Kent State's Department of Anthropology.

Lovejoy, an internationally respected expert on human origins who will be the Ferrini Institute's director, said that the current top centers, such as Arizona State's Institute of Human Origins (IHO), focus almost exclusively on phylogeny, or "filling in blanks in the hypothetical human family tree. This is important work, but phylogeny alone tells us virtually nothing of the unique forces that converged to launch what may be the only life-form in the universe capable of self-realization."

Elements of the Ferrini Institute will include: The Matthew Ferrini Endowed Chair in Biological Anthropology, which will attract to Kent State an internationally known scholar in human evolution. An endowed assistant professorship, an endowed graduate fellowship program, and an administrative coordinator. In addition, the gift provides for the Ferrini National Conference on Human Origins, an annual or semiannual gathering to bring together international experts to explore the emergence of the human species. (View complete Fact Sheet at www.kent.edu/media.) The university also will allocate funds for additional faculty, graduate and post-doctoral positions.

Bruce Ferrini, a Kent State alumnus, is an international expert and dealer in rare documents.
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Kent State University

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