Faculty, staff, students and alumni invited to submit Vanderbilt Sesquicentennial Grant proposals

Vanderbilt Seal 2022As Vanderbilt prepares to mark its sesquicentennial—the 150th anniversary of the university’s founding—in 2023, a new program will support exploration of the university’s past and future. The Office of the Chancellor is launching the Sesquicentennial Grant Program to fund activities and projects that engage with the university’s history, look to its future and explore what makes Vanderbilt distinctive and unique. The grants will be used to support a range of activities and programs, including but not limited to academic forums, research, performances, exhibitions, events and celebrations.

“Vanderbilt’s sesquicentennial is a historic milestone and an opportunity to reflect on the incredible trajectory of our institution and how far we can go in the next 150 years and beyond,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “The celebration and recognition of our university will encompass our entire community, and this grant program is among the first opportunities for students, faculty, staff and alumni to play a meaningful role in telling our story and charting our bright future—together.”

The formal celebration of Vanderbilt’s sesquicentennial will begin in March 2023 and encompass a year of events recognizing the university’s 150-year-long development from a regional institution to a globally renowned university known for transformative education and research. Vanderbilt was founded in 1873 with a $1 million gift from “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt. His intent was to establish an institution to “contribute to strengthening the ties that should exist between all sections of our common country.” The university will share further details in October about the sesquicentennial celebration and events.

The grant program welcomes proposals from groups across the Vanderbilt community, including faculty, staff, students and alumni. Proposals that focus on a particular contribution by a group or program are encouraged, as are proposals that demonstrate collaboration across the university. Award sizes will vary from $5,000 to $50,000 depending on the nature of the proposal.

Grant proposals should highlight Vanderbilt’s mission and impact locally, nationally and globally and should include one or more of the following elements:

  • Historical research into an aspect of Vanderbilt
  • A vision for Vanderbilt’s future as a leading global institution
  • Projects and activities that embody our motto Crescere aude, or “dare to grow”
  • An illustration of how projects and activities celebrate Vanderbilt’s culture and identity

Fund Uses

Sesquicentennial Grant Program funding may generally be used for:

  • Postdoctoral hires
  • Graduate student payments, including stipends and fees
  • Term-limited consultants or skilled workers
  • Travel
  • Materials or supplies

Unallowable uses generally include:

  • Tuition or financial aid support for students
  • Faculty salaries
  • Course buyout

Award Eligibility and Terms

  • All groups, programs and organizations within the Vanderbilt community are invited to submit a proposal. The proposal lead must be a full-time, Vanderbilt University-employed faculty or staff member.
  • Grant funds must be used within 24 months of being awarded.
  • Applicants may submit or be a partner on only one proposal per application cycle.
  • All projects and materials related to the grant must be documented and submitted to the Office of the Chancellor for the sesquicentennial archive in Special Collections and University Archives.

Application Checklist and Requirements

All proposals must be submitted online using InfoReady Review, Vanderbilt’s online submissions portal. Award dates may vary depending on the number of proposals submitted.

Part I: Applicant Information

  • Applicant first and last name
  • Applicant VUnetID
  • Applicant email address
  • Applicant department or unit name
  • Applicants may list up to five co-applicants in InfoReady

Part II: Proposal Information

  • Proposal title
  • Project description (500-word limit)
  • Short description of the group and the proposal team members’ roles
  • Detailed description of how funds will be used (500-word limit)
  • Expected outcomes/deliverables (500-word limit)
  • Budget overview, including line items of estimated expenses (a budget template is available for use in InfoReady)

Part III: Uploads

  • Detailed budget (applicants must use the budget template available in InfoReady)

Grant Timeline

Application deadlines for the 2022–23 academic year:

Fall 2022

  • Deadline: Aug. 29, 2022
  • Awards announced: Oct. 24, 2022
  • Funds available: Nov. 7, 2022
  • Final report due: 60 calendar days after the conclusion of all grant-related projects and activities

Spring 2023

  • Deadline: Jan. 23, 2023
  • Awards announced: March 20, 2023
  • Funds available: April 3, 2023
  • Final report due: 60 calendar days after the conclusion of all grant-related projects and activities

Learn more at the Sesquicentennial Grant Program website.

Questions may be emailed to