The Frederick Mahan Great Questions Grants

Provided by Frederick Mahan, Class of 1952, the purpose of the Great Questions Grants is to encourage and assist students of Gettysburg College to reflect deeply on the perennial Great Questions all humans ask about faith and reason, values, meaning, and purpose. It supports interdisciplinary explorations of the connections between faith, values, and life, including education, career, interpersonal relationships, lifestyle, ethics, mortality, truth, and personal and social transformation.

The Grants aim to (1) provide opportunities for students and faculty to explore the Great Questions and their relation to every aspect of life; (2) encourage a constructive, respectful, and receptive exchange of perspectives, with emphasis on Christianity's dialogue with other faith traditions and with secular culture; and (3) promote a close-knit community of inquirers. Its goal is to inspire action and lives consistent with one's faith and values.

Types of Projects Funded

Supported activities may include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • supporting individual students as "Mahan Fellows" by providing opportunities for leadership, inquiry or research for a summer or a semester or more (fellows need not be philosophy majors);
  • sponsorship of public lectures by visiting speakers;
  • sponsorship of visiting scholars;
  • hosting of workshops and conferences;
  • experiential projects that include travel, retreats, or explorative interaction with faith-based and other intentional communities;
  • participation in off-campus conferences or workshops;
  • collaboration with the College Chapel and other campus organizations in sponsoring events and hosting activities; and
  • funding other activities or events for the broad campus community.

The Grant does not provide financial assistance for:

  • financial assistance for tuition and/or books;
  • financial assistance for normal study abroad programs in either the academic year or the summer months; and
  • post-graduation projects.

Preference is given to proposals that combine academic and experiential learning. Proposals to explore faith-based intentional communities, for example, ideally include plans to visit intentional communities and dialogue with their members. Proposals to investigate meditation or prayer across faith traditions ideally include a visit to meditation centers, ashrams, or prayer sanctuaries. Proposals to examine the relationship between images, architecture, and faith ideally include plans to scrutinize in situ examples of religious art and architecture.

Grants are typically in the $500-$750 range.

Applications are accepted from individuals, groups of individuals and campus organizations.

How to Apply

Applications for funding should include:

  • An abstract of no more than 150 words.
  • A proposal of no more than 1200 words. The proposal should clearly describe the nature and significance of the project, how it relates to the goals of the Mahan Great Questions Fund, and a statement of why it is of special interest to the applicant. All proposals must contain a timeline, an itemized budget, and an indication of other possible sources of funding.

Successful applicants will be expected to submit a report at the completion of their project.

Proposals may be submitted at any time. The next deadline for consideration of requests is March 15, 2014. Applications may be sent to Professor Steven Gimbel, Philosophy Department, Box 404 or sgimbel@gettysburg.edu. Prospective applicants are encouraged to speak with him before writing and submitting proposals.