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Trustee and husband pledge $100,000 to Africana studies

Author: Arts and Letters


A University of Notre Dame Trustee and her husband have pledged $100,000 toward the endowment of the University’s new Department of Africana Studies.

Phyllis Stone, a 1980 Notre Dame graduate, and her husband, Jim, a 1981 alumnus, made the gift, the first of its size to the Africana studies department.

Richard Pierce, department chair and associate professor of history, said that the Stones’ pledge “represents a great beginning of our effort” to build the program and put it on a solid footing.

Phyllis Stone said she and her husband made their donation to show their commitment to the new department and their hope that others will follow their example. Speaking of Americans’ knowledge of Africa, she said, “We are so far behind where we ought to be.”

Mrs. Stone is executive director of worldwide marketing for Merck & Co. Inc. of Whitehouse Station, N.J. She was elected to Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees in May 1995. Earlier she was a member of the advisory council of the Mendoza College of Business and helped to create the Black Alumni of Notre Dame within the University’s Alumni Association.

Mr. Stone was a member of the 1977 Fighting Irish national championship football team and played professional football for four years. He currently is an executive sales representative for Merial Ltd. Animal Health, a company partly owned by Merck & Co.

Established a year ago, the Department of Africana Studies replaced the University’s African and African-American Studies Program. It offers an interdisciplinary curriculum in which students study the African-American experience; the histories, literatures, political systems, arts, economies and religions of the African continent; and the African diaspora – the global dispersion of people of African descent.

Originally published by Don Wycliff at on July 20, 2006.