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HONOLULU – Carol Mon Lee is building on her, and her late husband Dr. Jerry Bentley’s generosity by establishing a third endowed fund at UH with her latest gift of $100,000.

The Jerry H. Bentley World History Endowed Faculty award supports faculty at the assistant or early associate level who are working in the area of world and comparative history, in the Department of History at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Arts and Humanities. This award helps fund recipients’ research and travel.

“Jerry Bentley was a pioneer in the field of world history, not only in his scholarship but in his commitment to securing the field’s future. He is considered the most important world historian of his generation. Carol Lee’s generous gift in Bentley’s memory will ensure that a new generation of world historians at UH have available critical research support to undertake their scholarly activity”

- Peter Arnade, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.

Before Dr. Bentley passed away, he and Lee established the Jerry H. Bentley Endowed Scholarship in World History. This scholarship supports graduate students studying world history. 

David Hanlon, chair of the Department of History shared, “One of the many remarkable features of Jerry Bentley's career was his commitment to the professional training and development of graduate students.  This commitment is reflected in the scholarship established by Jerry and his wife Carol.” Hanlon continued, “As a result of their generosity, there will be future generations of World historians coming out of Mānoa who will advance the field.  In so doing, they will add to the already considerable legacy of Jerry Bentley as a world-class scholar."

In 2007 the couple made a generous contribution to endow the Carol Mon Lee Endowed Scholarship Fund that was established in Lee’s honor when she retired from the UH Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law after serving as associate dean for ten years. This scholarship supports law students, with preference given to single parents or students from China.

Dr. Bentley was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the oldest of three boys.  His father was an engineer, and his mother was a homemaker and entrepreneur.  He attended the University of Tennessee where he obtained his Bachelors and Masters degrees.  He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota.  In 1976, Dr. Bentley joined the University of Hawai‘i as an assistant professor. By 1987 he was a full professor.

During his career he taught courses in world history and early modern history.  He was the founding editor of the Journal of World History and wrote extensively on the cultural history of early modern Europe and on cross-cultural interactions and exchanges in world history.  His research on the religious, moral, and political writings of the Renaissance led to the publication of Humanists and Holy Writ: New Testament Scholarship in the Renaissance (1983) and Politics and Culture in Renaissance Naples (1987). His later research concentrated on global history and processes of cross-cultural interaction. 

Amongst other publications, he co-authored the popular textbook in World History, Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past (2010) with Herbert Ziegler which is in its fifth edition and has been translated into other languages.  At its annual international conference in June 2011, the World History Association awarded him with its prestigious "Pioneer of World History" award. This year, the American Historical Association established a Jerry Bentley book prize in world history.

Dr. Bentley's contributions also include work with other educational institutions.  He was instrumental in organizing the national AP World History course as well as the Hawai‘i Department of Education's world history program in secondary education. Dr. Bentley was also been a major contributor to the development of world history study in China through his association with Capital Normal University in Beijing where he served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor for many years. 

“In addition to being a prolific scholar, outstanding teacher, and visionary thinker in the field of world history, there was another side to Jerry,” said Carol Mon Lee. She continued, “He was incredibly generous to students, colleagues and anyone who needed help, encouragement or support.  His legacy may be in the field of world history but he will also be remembered for his genuine goodness of heart and humility.  UH Mānoa was his home and he never planned to leave.”

If you would like to support the College of Arts and Humanities, we invite you to make a secure gift online.

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The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. The mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is to unite donors' passions with the University of Hawaiʻi’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawaiʻi and our future generations