UConn Receives $1M Gift and Match Challenge for Human Rights Institute 

A collage showing college students engaged in various activities related to human rights
(Via the Human Rights Institute)

The Human Rights Institute (HRI) at UConn is kicking off a matching gift challenge with support from longtime donors Gary Gladstein ’66 (CLAS), ’08 (HON) and his wife, Dr. Phyllis Gladstein. The couple, whose generous giving spans the last 22 years, have committed $1 million as an outright gift plus an additional match to inspire giving by others. They will match gifts dollar-for-dollar to the Human Rights Institute, up to $1 million, over the next three years.

“How extraordinary that our family contribution in 1998 sponsoring a visiting professor in human rights would grow far beyond our expectation to become one of the premier human rights programs in the world,” Gary Gladstein said.

Gary Gladstein and Phyllis Gladstein
Gary Gladstein and Phyllis Gladstein
(Sonya Revell for UConn Foundation)

“We feel privileged to continue to support the Human Rights Institute with its dedicated faculty, motivated students, and most supportive administration. During this troubled time of pandemic and social unrest, the work of the Human Rights Institute is more important than ever,” he said.

Vice President for Global Affairs Daniel Weiner noted that the longstanding relationship between the Gladstein family and said HRI is “a profound example of transformative giving that is having important societal impacts in Connecticut, the United States and around the world.” He underscored that this new gift and fundraising challenge is “an opportunity to further enhance UConn’s reputation as a global leader in human rights research, teaching and practice.”

The match campaign will enable HRI to continue to build its endowment, which has provided a sustainable resource for undergraduate and graduate student fellowships, support for experiential learning opportunities, and funding for programming and faculty research on cutting-edge issues related to human rights.

“We are tremendously grateful for the generosity of Gary and Dr. Phyllis Gladstein and their remarkable commitment to UConn, to scholarship, and to the cause of human rights. The Human Rights Institute is one of UConn’s signature programs, and its work has only grown more urgent since it was established,” President Thomas Katsouleas said.

The gift will enable the Institute to amplify its research programs on economic and social rights, humanitarianism, and global health, as well as expand its program on human rights practice. HRI also will launch a human rights practitioner-in-residence program and provide funding for seed grants to faculty members who are applying their research expertise to projects that advance human rights research, monitoring, and reporting. The gift will sustain HRI’s continued partnership with the University to host a scholar, researcher, or practitioner through the Scholars at Risk program.

The Human Rights Institute is a national leader, with one of the largest interdisciplinary programs. In addition, UConn is the only public university offering a human rights major. The Gladsteins have supported programs across the University—at Hillel, the School of Business, the Division of Athletics, and UConn Health. Their gifts and match commitments to HRI have transformed research and academics at UConn and made an impact in the field of human rights globally.

“The generous support of the Gladstein family over the past two decades has enabled the institute to become one of the premier programs in the country,” HRI Director Kathryn Libal said. “We have attracted stellar faculty to contribute to the academic programs and our graduates are securing meaningful work in law and government, business, the health sector, and STEM fields. This gift and match challenge will allow us to deepen and expand our work at a critical time in the country.”

Gifts to support the Human Rights Institute can be made online.