Here is the press release from the start of the Weinberg Fellowships (the Fellowship Program page has details for applicants, along with news on the Academy's opportunities in other fields).
NEW YORK, NY, Sept. 1, 2017— Columbia University’s Italian Academy announced a $1.15 million gift from the Sidney J. Weinberg Jr. Foundation for a vital project that will bring as many as 20 additional Fellows over the next 5 years to study architectural history and preservation.
“This generous gift from the Weinberg Foundation—one of the largest donations since the founding of the Academy—permits us to pursue the understanding and conservation of architecture of all geographic areas and periods,” said David Freedberg, Director of the Italian Academy.
The first Fellows are expected to be on campus already in September. Two to four Fellowships will be awarded each year and will run concurrently with the Academy’s other residential fellowships.
“I am excited that this whole project has taken shape so quickly, and the Academy has done a lot of hard work to make it happen,” said Sydney Houghton Weinberg ’10GSAS, the donor behind this gift. She is a trustee of the Foundation, which was named for and founded by her father, Sidney; she is also a trustee of the World Monuments Fund. She received a master’s degree from Columbia's Department of Art History and Archaeology with a thesis on the architecture of Francesco di Giorgio. “Casting a wide net, the Fellowship program will support work that is practical as well as theoretical,” she explained. “We’re interested in crisis management and war destruction, and we are focusing on the cutting edge of the preservation field.”
This initiative is developed in conjunction with the Academy’s new International Observatory for Cultural Heritage, which sponsors and encourages research on monuments, artifacts, and traditions.
The Weinberg Fellows will be on site at the Italian Academy, which occupies the “Casa Italiana” building—the neo-Renaissance palazzo built by McKim, Mead & White in 1927 and renovated in the 1990s by Italo Rota and Samuel G. White (great-grandson of Stanford White).
“The Academy is delighted to work with such engaged and thoughtful benefactors in an era of grave threats to our shared global heritage, when monuments and buildings are threatened by war, neglect, natural disaster, and urban development,” said Professor Freedberg, the Pierre Matisse Professor of the History of Art at Columbia and an expert on iconoclasm (the destruction of artworks and monuments). “We are very grateful to the Weinberg Foundation and to Sydney Houghton Weinberg for her vision.”
The Sidney J. Weinberg Jr. Foundation is an independent foundation in New York that supports health, science, the arts, and educational institutions.
The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America is a multidisciplinary Columbia research center that sponsors advanced research in the sciences and the arts via a Fellowship Program with at least 20 residential scholars each year, and with public conferences promoting academic, cultural, and scientific exchange. It was founded at Columbia in 1991 with support from the Republic of Italy.