The HCA is a central academic facility of the University of Heidelberg with its financial support coming from a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP). Without the continual support and patronage of dedicated benefactors the founding and continuous operation of the HCA would not have been possible. The HCA is sincerely grateful for the generosity of many individuals, corporations, and institutions. Donations from these benefactors not only enabled the institutional development of the HCA in general, but also provided several scholarships for the Master of Arts in American Studies (MAS) and Ph.D. programs, as well as funding for conferences.
The two paramount patrons of American Studies at Heidelberg University, Honorary Senators Curt and Heidemarie Engelhorn, have provided sustained support to the HCA from the beginning. In 2006, they purchased the Curt and Heidemarie Engelhorn Palais in the heart of Heidelberg’s Old Town, had it lovingly renovated it, and made it available to the HCA rent-free. In addition, they have supported the center with an annual sum of EUR 400,000 since 2008. After Curt Engelhorn’s death in 2016, Heidemarie Engelhorn has continued their commitment with vigor and is breaking new ground together with HCA Director Welf Werner. Her support is above all dedicated to the expansion of the “digital HCA” and to the notion of a “Global American Studies.” The honorary senator has recently extended the rent-free use of the Curt and Heidemarie Engelhorn Palais until 2036.
Curt Engelhorn has left an imprint on the Rhine-Neckar region; as a co-partner, he turned Boehringer Mannheim Group from a medium-sized chemical company into a global player. Curt and Heidemarie Engelhorn, a successful entrepreneur in her own right, have acted as outstanding benefactors in the region, particularly through their support of the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums in Mannheim and of Heidelberg University, most visibly through the establishment and expansion of the Ruperto Carola’s American Studies programs. Due to their consistent promotion of the Schurman Library for American History, the endowment of the Curt Engelhorn Chair for American History, and their sustained support for the HCA, Heidelberg can now pride itself to be the premier location for American Studies in Baden Württemberg.
Throughout his life, Curt Engelhorn, whose mother was American, maintained a special relationship to the United States. From 1947 to 1952, he spent formative years in the United States. At the Cockrell School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin he studied chemical engineering. Throughout his professional career, he continued to explore U.S. politics, culture, society, and history. Curt Engelhorn was convinced that despite all the tensions in European-American relations, the great challenges of the present could only be met through close cooperation between the Old World and the New.
The Schurman Association for the Promotion of American Studies e.V. at Heidelberg University and the Schurman Foundation are both named after Heidelberg alumnus Jacob Gould Schurman, who was ambassador of the United States of America to Germany from 1925 to 1930. During his tenure, Schurman convinced numerous American compatriots to donate for the construction of a new central lecture hall building, the so-called New University, in Heidelberg.
Under the leadership of their long-time chairman, Rolf Kentner (1947-2020), both the association and foundation played a decisive role in establishing the Curt Engelhorn Chair in American History as well as the HCA. Since 2018, the board of the Jacob Gould Schurman Foundation has consisted of Dr. Thomas Peuntner (chair), Hans-Hasso Kersten (vice chair), and Dr. Kurt Bock, who, after seventeen years of meritorious support of the HCA, has resigned his position in 2021 and passed it on to the next generation of supporters. The association was absorbed into the foundation in 2019. The assets of the association were transferred to the foundation, which has the same goals to which the association was committed. The board members of the Schurman Foundation support and advise the HCA, for example by continuing the awarding of the Rolf Kentner Dissertation Prize, supporting the Annual Meeting of the German Association for American Studies in Heidelberg in 2021, and providing scholarships for Ph.D. and M.A. students.
On the initiative of Dr. Kurt Bock, then Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, the globally operating company decided in 2006 to make available dissertation scholarships to HCA students. In addition, Kurt Bock provided advice and support for the development of the HCA for many years and was a member of the HCA Board of Trustees as well as a member of the Schurman Association and Schurman Foundation.
Dr. Bock served as Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE from 2011 to 2018. He joined the company in 1985 and assumed the role of Chief Financial Officer in 2003. He is a member of the supervisory boards of BMW Group, Fresenius Management SE, and Munich Reinsurance Company. He was born in 1958 and studied business administration at the universities of Münster and Cologne and at Pennsylvania State University.
In 2007, Ray and Elfi Carrell established an endowment fund to support advanced degree programs at selected German and American universities. MAS students have been awarded scholarships from this fund.
Ray Carrell, an American who attended Texas Tech University, spent many years in the region as the former CEO of Aktiengesellschaft Kühnle, Kopp & Kausch in Frankenthal. Elfi Carrell is a German citizen, who attended Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt and then taught at the Altes Kurfürstliches Gymnasium in Bensheim.
One of the oldest companies in the U.S. and the leading manufacturer for agricultural machinery worldwide, John Deere has been generously supporting the HCA’s annual Spring Academy since 2005. Dr. Thomas Peuntner, Global HR Director, not only accompanies this international conference, but is also involved with the Schurman Foundation.
At the Spring Academy, twenty doctoral students gather for a week at the HCA to discuss their ongoing research projects with leading scholars in their field. In close cooperation with Dr. Oliver Neumann, and later with Ralf Lenge and Heiner Ehmer, a productive collaboration has developed between the company and the Spring Academy participants. Since 2005, John Deere has supported the Spring Academy with 10,000 Euros annually, increasing this support to 12,000 Euros in 2008.
Andreas Dienerowitz, MD, runs a cardiology and internal medicine practice in Heidelberg together with Klaus Remde, MD. He promotes research and teaching on transatlantic relations because he feels closely connected to the American community in Heidelberg, not least through his professional activities. Since 2018, the Andreas Dienerowitz International Fellowship has supported MAS students at the HCA.
Deutsche Bank AG promoted scholarly exchanges between Germany and the United States by underwriting a Deutsche Bank Junior Fellowship-in-Residence at the HCA from 2007 to 2009.
The program enabled younger scholars from the U.S. to complete their research in an ideal academic environment in Heidelberg and to advance it to publication. At the same time, the visiting scholars became involved in the HCA’s international master’s program and participated actively in the Center’s academic life. The first recipient of the fellowship was Jeannette Eileen Jones of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who studied the cultural and intellectual history of the Atlantic region with a particular focus on the representation of Africa and African-Americans in scholarship and popular culture. She was followed in October 2008 by Kirsten Fischer of the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, who researched the relationship between reason and faith in the religious history of the early American republic.
Upon the initiative and with the support of Dr. Martin Bussmann, a foundation has been established by Mannheim LLC in New York to enable American donors to support the HCA. The Friends of the Heidelberg Center for American Studies is a tax-exempt non-profit organization which has substantially funded the HCA since its inception. In addition to Dr. Martin Bussmann, the board of directors includes David Hogan, Lucy Whitehead, Anthony Williams and Prof. Dr. Welf Werner.
Herbert A. Jung is a painter and sculptor living in Heidelberg. Originally trained as a chemist, he spent time at Yale University in New Haven and Esso research in New York, followed by a long career at ExxonMobil Chemical in Brussels. He feels a special connection to the USA and thus to the HCA. He has supported the Center’s activities in various ways since 2007 with travel grants for the Spring Academy and contributions to MAS fellowships. Herbert A. Jung also created the “Abstract Portrait” of the institute's founder, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Detlef Junker, in the HCA Atrium.
The Ladenburg Foundation has constitutively contributed to the development of the HCA from its very inception. It is represented by Dr. Martin Bussmann, trustee of Mannheim Trust LLC and Managing Director of Mannheim Holdings LLC in New York. Martin Bussmann is also a member of the HCA’s Board of Trustees. He completed his law studies in Frankfurt, Freiburg, Lausanne and Heidelberg. In 1977 he was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School; in 1978 he received his Dr. juris. utriusque from Heidelberg University. For fifteen years, Martin Bussmann worked in the healthcare and chemical industries at Knoll AG, Abbott Laboratories, and BASF AG in Europe and the United States. He is a 2021 Fellow of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative.
Dr. h.c. Manfred Lautenschläger has provided outstanding support to Heidelberg University for many years, including the endowment of the Lautenschläger Research Prize, which is awarded every two years and endowed with EUR 250,000 Euros, and the construction of the new University Children’s Hospital, now the Angelika Lautenschläger Clinic. In 1998, Manfred Lautenschläger was appointed honorary senator of Heidelberg University.
Recognizing that Germany owes the United States a special debt of gratitude for its democratic and prosperous development after World War II, Manfred Lautenschläger is convinced that a center such as the HCA can foster mutual understanding, especially in times when political differences create irritations in transatlantic relations. Manfred Lautenschläger has therefore actively supported the HCA from the very beginning, not least through rent-free offices in Heidelberg’s Weststadt during the early years of the center. Since 2006, he has funded a series of international conferences at the HCA. In May 2008, the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation provided significant support to the 55th Annual Meeting of the German Association for American Studies (GAAS) held at Heidelberg University with the HCA acting as local organizer. In 2011, the HCA and the Faculty of Theology were able to establish the James W.C. Pennington Award thanks to a generous donation from the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation. It commemorates the American pastor and former slave James W.C. Pennington, who received an honorary doctorate from the Ruperto Carola in 1849, the first time that an African American received this highest academic honor from a European and perhaps any university worldwide. The award honors outstanding scholars who have worked on issues that were important to Pennington: slavery and emancipation, peace, education, reform, civil rights, religion, and intercultural understanding. Thanks to the idealistic and financial support of the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation, the award winners will have the opportunity to exchange ideas about Pennington’s life and work with other renowned scholars at two conferences in Heidelberg and Princeton in 2021 and 2022.
Dr. Bernd-A. von Maltzan is the Vice Chairman of Deutsche Bank’s global division Private Wealth Management. He is also active in various international non-profit organizations, among them the American Berlin Opera Foundation, New York, whose Founding President he is.
The Foundation facilitates practical training for young American vocalists at the German Opera Berlin as well as connections to opera houses throughout Europe. In 2002, Bernd-A. von Maltzan won the cultural award of “Elyseum – Between the two Continents”, a transatlantic cultural institution. Since its inception Dr. von Maltzan has been an avid supporter of the HCA, including his endowment of the Bernd von Maltzan Scholarships for students of the M.A. in American Studies program.
In 2008, MLP, a leading independent financial services supplier generously supported the Annual Meeting of the German Association for American Studies (GAAS) at Heidelberg University with the HCA as local organizer. Both the DGfA/GAAS and the HCA gratefully appreciate the support of MLP and its CEO Dr. Uwe Schroeder-Wildberg.
The Leonie Wild Foundation was established in 1997 by Dr. Hans-Peter Wild together with his mother to support social and cultural projects in and around Heidelberg. Dr. Wild is the owner and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the fruit juice manufacturer Capri-Sun, based in Zug, Switzerland. Until 2014, he held a majority stake in Wild Flavors, one of the leading manufacturers of natural flavors for the food industry.
It is of great importance to Dr. Wild to give something back to society – both on the local level and beyond. For a long time he has been a staunch supporter of Heidelberg University which, in recognition of his services, named him Honorary Senator in 1996, thus continuing the tradition of his father Rudolf Wild. His experience in international markets and with other cultures has taught Hans-Peter Wild how important it is to pay attention to and respect cultural differences. “If I want to do business with the U.S., I have to be able to think like an American,” Wild explains. One of the reasons he has actively supported the HCA from the beginning is to give young people the opportunity to study America’s cultural characteristics. To that end, for many years, he supported students in the HCA’s master’s program with Wild Scholarships, which included not only tuition but also a subsidy for living expenses in Heidelberg. The Wild Scholarships have contributed significantly to the global attractiveness and broad internationalization of the program. From 2006 to 2018, Dr. Hans-Peter Wild was Chairman of the HCA Board of Trustees.