Faculty, staff, students and alumni invited to submit proposals for spring cycle of Vanderbilt Sesquicentennial Grant

Vanderbilt is launching a second round of grants to mark the 150th anniversary of the university’s founding and help community members explore aspects of Vanderbilt’s past and future. The deadline for proposals for the spring cycle of the Vanderbilt Sesquicentennial Grant is Monday, Jan. 23.

The Office of the Chancellor launched the Sesquicentennial grant program in July 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.

The initial fall cycle yielded dozens of proposals, with 15 awarded Sesquicentennial grants. The winning proposals were announced in October and include a public commemoration of Vanderbilt’s 19th-century Cherokee and Chickasaw students; an exhibition interpreting the stories of women and underrepresented minorities associated with the historic Vaughn Home on campus; an animated time-lapse video focusing on Vanderbilt’s unique contributions to college athletics; a photography project that aims to capture the image and essence of Vanderbilt through the faces of its community members; and more. The successful fall proposals were those that had the strongest connection to the grant guidelines as well as proposed activities that engage the Vanderbilt community.

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 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)
  • Total funding request
  • Funding request date (select one or both):

If you select two dates, please rank order your preferences on the application.

  • April 3, 2023
  • July 5, 2023
  • Rank your funding date preferences:

If you only selected one date preference, you do not need to rank order the dates.

  • Funding date 1:
  • Funding date 2:

Part III: Uploads

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

Grant timeline

Application deadlines for spring 2023:

  • Deadline: Jan. 23, 2023, 11:59 p.m. CT
  • Awards announced: March 20, 2023
  • Funds available: April 3, 2023, or July 5, 2023
  • Final reports 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