A major gift from Blair Effron ’84 and Cheryl Effron has established the Effron Center for the Study of America, an expansion of the Program in American Studies that will serve as an interdisciplinary hub for race and ethnic studies.

“The center will provide a space for intellectual discussions to produce transformative research and teaching that is guided by principles of civil rights, freedom, social justice, and inclusion,” said Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús, director of the center (on leave) and a professor of American studies, in a University announcement. The gift was made through the University’s Venture Forward campaign, which Blair Effron co-chairs. Officials declined to provide the amount of the gift. 

Areas of study include certificate tracks in Asian American studies and Latino studies, as well as courses and initiatives in Native American and Indigenous Studies, African American studies, history, and more. 

Sociology professor Patricia Fernández-Kelly, the center’s acting director, told PAW that while the center is still in early stages, the first focus will be bringing in diverse faculty. Other plans for the future include creating new courses and curricula incorporating more diverse perspectives and histories, sponsoring independent research, and hosting events and notable speakers, she added. 

Those who have worked on this effort are hopeful all Princeton students will take classes through the center and develop a better understanding of American studies, Fernández-Kelly said. “We need a more comprehensive understanding of American identity that does not exclude the voices that have traditionally been evicted from the conventional narrative,” she said.