Jerry H. Bentley endowed award to support Department of History faculty

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Margot Schrire, (808) 956-6774
Director of Communications, UH Foundation
Posted: Aug 21, 2014

Jerry Bentley and Carol Mon Lee
Jerry Bentley and Carol Mon Lee

Carol Mon Lee is building on her generosity, and the generosity of her late husband Dr. Jerry Bentley, 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 members 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 Hawaiʻi at Mānoa's 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,” notes Dean Peter Arnade of the College of Arts and Humanities.  “He is considered the most important world historian of his generation.  Carol Mon 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.”

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

Shared David Hanlon, chair of the Department of History, “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.  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 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.

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 bachelor and master degrees. He earned his PhD at the University of Minnesota.  In 1976, he joined the University of Hawaiʻi 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.

Among other publications, he co-authored the popular textbook in World History, Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past (2010), with Herbert Ziegler.  The textbook 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.

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. He 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. “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.”

For information on supporting the College of Arts and Humanities, please contact Lori Admiral at (808) 956-5747 or A secure gift may be made online at


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

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