Franklin College Receives Grant Supporting Undergrad Research into College Community’s Contributions

By Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance | | 4.4.23

Franklin College has received a $10,000 grant from the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Mellon Foundation through the Humanities Research for the Public Good (HRPG) program supporting the Lasting Legacies: Franklin College Spirit of Community project.

“Once again, the Council of Independent Colleges and the Mellon Foundation are providing an extraordinary opportunity for Franklin College to live out its mission and serve its community,” said President Kerry N. Prather. “Their generosity, vision and leadership will help expand the student research experience at Franklin and provide historical information for the greater community to enjoy.”

Franklin is one of just 13 institutions to be awarded a Humanities Research for the Public Good Sustaining Grant.

The Lasting Legacies project will engage the college’s students in undergraduate research focused on highlighting the inspiring stories of individuals connected to Franklin College. Coinciding with Johnson County’s (Ind.) 2023 Bicentennial, Lasting Legacies will enhance the 200-year commemoration of the county in which Franklin College is located.

Commemorating their achievements and preserving their history, the project will highlight individual contributions in the advancement of the common good in order to serve local, state, national and international communities. Noted individuals from throughout the college’s history will be featured.

Student research will focus on two collections of the college’s B.F. Hamilton Library, the Franklin College Archives and The Honorable Roger Douglas Branigin Archives. The Franklin College Archives house college physical manuscripts, yearbooks, course catalogs, college publications and other materials such as biographical files, including press releases and other media, about college alumni, faculty, staff and students. These materials date from the college’s 1834 founding to present. Also included in this collection are the papers of past college presidents from circa 1880 to 2000.

The Honorable Roger Douglas Branigin Archives encompass the gubernatorial papers of Roger D. Branigin, the governor of Indiana from 1965 to 1969 and a 1923 Franklin College alumnus. The collection includes physical correspondence, legislation, daily journals and press clippings.

“Lasting Legacies will build on our 2019 CIC Humanities Research for the Public Good project, Primary Pursuit, which highlights the Honorable Roger D. Branigin,” said Jessica Mahoney, interim director of library services and co-adviser to the project. “We are eager to build upon the success of that student project and to collaborate once again with the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) and the Johnson County Museum of History (JCMH) and are honored by the additional collaboration of the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) as well.”

Once the research is complete, students will create a digital collection of sources for B.F. Hamilton Library. Additionally, they will select and digitize sources to create an online journey for the IHS’s permanent exhibit, Destination Indiana. Finally, student researchers will share their work with PALNI institutions and participate in a campus unveiling during Scholars’ Day 2024 where representatives from IHS, JCMH, PALNI and college alumni will be invited to attend.

“So many will benefit from these high-impact, collaborative initiatives,” noted Meredith Clark-Wiltz, Ph.D., associate professor of history and co-adviser to the grant. “The library and history faculty pursue these meaningful, community-facing projects because they create opportunities to enhance student learning, preserve institutional history and strengthen the ties to the community.”

For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.

Founded in 1834, Franklin College is a residential liberal arts and sciences institution located 20 minutes south of Indianapolis. Franklin offers a wide array of undergraduate majors as well as master’s degree programs in Physician Assistant Studies and Athletic Training. The unique curriculum merges classroom instruction with immersive experiences, research opportunities and study away programs. Students participate in 21 NCAA Division III sports, esports, Greek life, musical and theatre productions and more than 40 student organizations. As the first college in Indiana to become coeducational with the admission of women, Franklin welcomes diversity of thought, belief and person into a community that values equity and inclusion. Franklin College maintains a voluntary association with the American Baptist Churches USA. For more information, visit Find Franklin College on Facebook and follow @FranklinCollege on Twitter.