The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media

On April 15, 2011, the Center for History and New Media became the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. This was made possible by the incredible generosity of hundreds of donors, who gave over a million dollars to rename the center. I’m enormously grateful to those contributors, many of whom read this blog. Thank you. It was especially touching that in addition to the tremendous donations from Roy’s friends, there were scores of donations from people who had never met Roy, such as a $5 contribution from a student in rural India who learned from our websites and tools.

Here’s what I said at the beginning of the dedication ceremony:

On behalf of the entire staff of the center and also for the Department of History and Art History that the center is a part of, let me welcome you on this wonderful occasion to the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. We wouldn’t be here today without your extraordinary friendship and generosity, and so let me give the first of many thanks to everyone for making this day happen.

We have several speakers this afternoon that I have the privilege of introducing, who will each say a few words about Roy and the center. But I wanted to start off the proceedings by giving voice to something miraculous that is happening as we celebrate today.

Right now, silently in the background, literally thousands of people worldwide are connected to the center’s servers, studying and conversing and learning. I checked our server logs just before this celebration, and just today, tens of thousands of people have visited CHNM sites. And just in the last thirty days well over a million visitors took advantage of the center’s open access resources and open source tools. For this reason, I can’t imagine that any academic in history has affected more people than Roy has.

And from this day forward, all of these millions of visitors to the many sites of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media will know who Roy is. They will see the new logo that is behind this curtain on our many websites, and know whom to thank for the incredible riches and generosity that Roy envisioned when he came up with the then-radical mission statement for the center: “to use digital media and computer technology to democratize history—to incorporate multiple voices, reach diverse audiences, and encourage popular participation in presenting and preserving the past.” On a personal note, it’s truly a joy to be able to carry on the work of a good friend every day.

The endowment you have helped to raise will support the work of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media for years to come. Thank you.

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