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Again, No ‘Genius’ Grant

Posted on | September 30, 2014 | Comments Off on Again, No ‘Genius’ Grant

The postal service lost the letter.  Again!  I even delayed my vacation to be waiting by the mailbox for the trusted Michael the mailman to deliver the good news that I had been selected for a MacArthur “genius” fellowship.  But nothing.

The announcement on September 17 that 21 new Fellows had been picked, and I was not among them, came as another blow to my fragile ego.  But what a deal it would be:

Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, paid out over five years. The Fellowship comes with no stipulations or reporting requirements, and allows recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

But in truth, these sound like some folks that I’d like to have lunch with.


Genius travels.  Talented people congregate because being in the company of other energetic and driven people multiplies their own disciplined gifts.  And when they travel, they come to California.

A foundation press release notes, “Comparing birthplace to location at the time of the award, the most popular destination state for Fellows was California, followed by New York.  For example, 2009 Fellow Camille Utterback, born in Indiana, and 2008 Fellow Walter Kitundu, born in Minnesota – both artists – lived in San Francisco at the time of the award.”

Then, as a sobering aside to the self-limiting costs of aggregation, it notes that adjusted for size the states with the most resident MacArthur fellows are New Mexico, Alaska, and Vermont.


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Charles Taylor Kerchner is an Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Fellow at Claremont Graduate University. My daily musings appear in the blog. The archives of my EdWeek blog are available via link under the 'On California' head. Some of my photography can be seen by clicking on 'Gallery.' And numerous links to academic work and other research and commentary can be found by clicking on 'Projects.'


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