History and Development

The Capps Center was established in January, 2002 to honor and further the legacy of Walter H. Capps. An Inaugural Lecture by Garry Wills marked the beginning of the center’s public programming on October 6 of that year.

Since that time two guiding principles have informed the activities of the center. One is the conviction that attention to values, beliefs and ethical principles is crucial to civil society and the envisioning of our human future. Second is the commitment to bridging the worlds of academia and the broader public through dialogue, very much in keeping with the outreach of a public university.

The major programs of the Capps Center were established by the following gifts and grants:

  • April, 2001: The Office of the President of the University of California budgeted $100,000 for its development.
  • August, 2001: The United States Congress awarded the center $500,000.
  • November, 2002: The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the center a Challenge Grant of $500,000 as incentive to raise an additional $1.5M.
  • September, 2005: The NEH Challenge of raising additional funds was met with the help of generous donors, thereby creating an initial endowment of $2M.
  • April, 2010: Sara Miller McCune gave $500,000 in support of internship programs