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St. John Fisher College, Rochester Historical Society, Gilder Lehrman Institute Partnership Funds Scholarship

January 25, 2021

A new partnership between St. John Fisher College, the Rochester Historical Society, and the prestigious Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History will create a scholarship for students interested in pursuing studies in history.

Dr. Carolyn Vacca teaches a class outside on a warm fall day.

The Gilder Lehrman Scholarship in American History will provide students the opportunity to individualize their undergraduate experience, engage in internships and independent studies, and have hands-on access to the archives and resources held by the Rochester Historical Society. Fisher is one of only nine colleges and universities in the country to offer the scholarship.

“Fisher’s affiliation with the oldest historical society in the region—whose holdings include a wide range of artifacts and documents—will provide unparalleled opportunities for historical scholarship and outreach for our students,” said Dr. Carolyn Vacca, professor and chair of the History Department at Fisher, who also serves as president of the Rochester Historical Society.

The Gilder Lehrman Scholarship in American History, designed by the Institute in partnership with the Council of Independent Colleges, encourages high school students participating in the Institute’s National Academy of American History and Civics to continue their study of history at the collegiate level. Gilder Lehrman provides free American history resources to teachers and students at 29,000 partner schools.

Vacca, who is also the Monroe County Historian, added that the partnership between Fisher and the Historical Society will be strengthened by including the Gilder Lehrman Institute, who is committed to connecting their member students to high-quality history experiences at colleges and universities across the country. “We’re really creating a unique collaboration that will transform the way our faculty and students engage with history,” she said.

To earn a scholarship at Fisher, students must meet the standard admissions requirements and express an interest in studying history. Priority will be given to students from the Finger Lakes region, and New York State, generally.

As Gilder Lehrman Scholars, students will participate in regional work to retell and deepen the understanding of how history has shaped Monroe County, and will also have the opportunity to work with K-12 school districts, engaging students in learning about the region’s history.

To learn more about St. John Fisher College, visit  To learn more about the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, including its free programs for K-12 schools, visit or contact Josh Landon at