The Center was established at Oregon State University in 1984 as an outgrowth of the Humanities Development Program, a project that had been creating innovative interdisciplinary courses since 1977. Led by founding director Peter J. Copek and OSU President Emeritus Dr. John Byrne, the Center’s initial effort to raise an endowment was matched by a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities – the first award of its kind presented to a land grant university. During the 1990’s, several grants from the Autzen Foundation made it possible to establish a permenant home for the Center in a turn-of-the-20th-century Tudor-style building now called the Autzen House. The Autzen House not only provides office space for fellows and meeting rooms for working groups, it also serves as a venue for our public lectures and art exhibits.