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Adriene Davis
Center on Philanthropy

Josh Sprunger
Center on Philanthropy

Last modified: Friday, May 9, 2008

Getting a Ph.D. in giving; Nationís First Ph.D.s in Philanthropic Studies to Graduate From IU

May 9, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS -- The first four people in the nation to earn a doctorate in Philanthropic Studies will soon graduate from the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University's Ph.D. program, center officials announced today (May 9).

Nonprofit organizations, donors and communities will be the beneficiaries. The graduates will educate future generations of nonprofit leaders, and their research will help donors give more wisely and enable nonprofits to increase fundraising and deliver services more effectively.


The first four people in the nation to earn a doctorate in Philanthropic Studies will soon graduate from the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University's Ph.D. program.

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"Philanthropy -- giving, volunteering and the important work done by nonprofits -- is growing increasingly sophisticated every year," said Eugene R. Tempel, executive director of the center. "The nonprofit executives of today and tomorrow need practical, cutting-edge research to inform their decisions and an education that develops in-depth understanding of complex issues to be thoughtful, effective leaders. These four Ph.D.s will help provide that."

The number of university programs in philanthropy and nonprofit management has exploded in recent years, creating a growing need for new faculty. The new Ph.D.s are among the first generation of faculty specifically trained to teach and conduct research in this field.

Yue "Jen" Shang, a native of Beijing, China, will be the first Ph.D. graduate. She and three students are expected to complete requirements for their doctorates this summer -- Salvatore Alaimo of Decatur, Ga., Julie Hatcher of Zionsville, Ind. and Alvin Lyons of Bloomington, Ind. -- will participate in ceremonies May 10 and 11 in Indianapolis.

"Indiana University, through the work of the Center on Philanthropy, continues to play an historic and remarkable leadership role in significantly strengthening understanding and practice of philanthropy around the globe," said Charles R. Bantz, chancellor of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and executive vice president of IU. "These new graduates will provide excellent faculty members to higher education institutions and will shape the future in innovative and profound ways."

More than 30 students have been accepted for study in the Ph.D. program, which began in 2004. In addition to preparing future faculty members, it serves mid-career and senior nonprofit executives who want to deepen their knowledge or enhance their ability to compete for top leadership positions nationally. It is the first traditional-format Ph.D. in Philanthropic Studies in the United States and is among a small number of doctorate programs dedicated to philanthropy or nonprofit management nationwide.

The center offered the nation's first Master of Arts program in Philanthropic Studies. It pioneered that academic discipline, which examines philanthropy from the liberal arts perspective and incorporates knowledge from schools throughout the university. The center is a part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. The graduates will receive the first doctorates earned in both the degree program and the school.

Shang will hold the center's first post-doctorate position, funded by a grant from the Hewlett Foundation. She will conduct research and teach courses in fundraising and nonprofit marketing. Her research examines motivations for giving and the factors that influence them. Among her goals are training fundraising professionals and nonprofit board members about donor behavior and educating donors about how to optimize their giving decisions.

Alaimo will pursue a university faculty position in philanthropy or nonprofit studies to teach and conduct research. His research explores the resources, culture and leadership needed for meaningful evaluations of nonprofit human service programs. He previously worked for many nonprofits and has taught graduate and undergraduate nonprofit management courses at Georgia State University and IUPUI.

Hatcher is the associate director of the Center for Service and Learning at IUPUI and will pursue teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level in Philanthropic Studies. Her research focuses on strategies used in higher education to develop civic-minded graduates and professionals -- people who give of their time and talents through their work. She is recognized as a national leader in service learning and civic engagement in higher education.

Lyons has accepted a post-doctorate opportunity to teach organizational theory and do research at Grand Valley State University and its Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership. His research examines nonprofits as both recipients of philanthropy and contributors to the support of others, looking at community hospitals' decision-making processes for providing financial contributions and community health education programs. He plans to combine university teaching with research to improve nonprofits' operations.

The graduates will be honored at a dinner and hooding ceremony on Saturday (May 10) at 5 p.m. at the Center on Philanthropy, 550 W. North St. in Indianapolis. They also will participate in IUPUI commencement ceremonies on Sunday (May 11) at 3 p.m. in the Indiana Convention Center's 500 Ballroom in Indianapolis. Media wishing to cover either event should contact Adriene Davis at 317-278-8972.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University is a leading academic center dedicated to increasing understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice worldwide through research, teaching, public service and public affairs programs in philanthropy, fundraising, and management of nonprofit organizations. It operates programs on both the IUPUI and IU Bloomington campuses.