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Innovative new fund supports material culture study

James Boswell '86 teaches at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business. (photo courtesy James Boswell)Thanks to the generosity of adjunct professor of business law James Boswell ’86 and husband Chris Caracci, students with a passion for material culture have an unprecedented opportunity to connect with distinguished practitioners and other emerging scholars through two of the nation’s leading decorative arts institutions.

William & Mary undergraduate and graduate students can now apply to the Boswell-Caracci Material Culture Study Fund to receive up to $1,000 to support attendance at symposia and other programming at either the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Modern Arts (MESDA) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, or the Decorative Arts Trust in Media, Pennsylvania.

Charles Center Director Elizabeth Harbron sees the Boswell-Caracci Fund as an important step in removing barriers especially for those students who lack the means to travel to further their interest in museum studies, archaeology, or material culture studies, generally.

“The Boswell-Caracci Fund not only opens new doors to our students, but it invites them to engage with fellow scholars who may one day become future colleagues or mentors in graduate school and beyond,” said Harbron.

Chris Caracci joined others inducted as William & Mary Honorary Alumni in May 2023. (photo courtesy Chris Caracci)According to Harbron, Boswell and Caracci “are visionary donors who saw a need among our students and created a new mechanism to inspire.”  She added, “Their generosity and commitment to our students’ growth is truly remarkable.”

Past funding from the couple has included the recreation of George Wythe’s library at the William & Mary Law School.

In 2021, Boswell was appointed as the chair of the Raymond A. Mason School of Business’s Diversity & Inclusion Climate Subcommittee and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Advisory Board for MESDA.

As a part of Commencement ceremonies last May, Caracci was inducted into the William & Mary alumni community as an Honorary Alum. 

Applications are now being accepted for the Boswell-Caracci Material Culture Study Fund on the Charles Center website with a deadline of Dec. 8, 2023.