The John Spencer Bassett Fund Committee consists of the Chair for the Bassett Fund Committee and at least five members elected each year by the Board and approved by the Undergraduate Publications Board Chair. The purpose of the John Spencer Bassett Memorial Fund is to:

John Spencer Bassett
  • Elicit intellectual curiosity.
  • Benefit the Duke community.
  • Demonstrate managerial and organizational strength.

Primarily we fulfill this mandate by funding:

  • Public lectures, special projects and/or experimental undertakings in the field of creative writing and communications arts,
  • Honoraria, travel, and other expenses related to the Blackburn Literary Festival
  • Expenses of any official University undergraduate publication.

We see ourselves as having a broad goal of attempting to ensure student exposure to fine arts, sciences, politics, and any interesting and improving endeavors. The reason any favor is shown to fine arts is because they often are overlooked by other campus groups; however, the committee must show no negative bias toward any group or event because of an ideological conflict. Hence, the funds are available to any group, sponsored by Duke or not, as long as the event is on the Duke campus is open to the entire student body and benefits the students.

The Bassett Fund Application form can be completed through DukeGroups. Applicants to the Fund must satisfactorily answer all the questions, provide any additional materials, and indicate how their activity or event addresses the criteria of the Fund. The organization or group responsible for the event or the activity must sign a contract stating that the group will submit financial documents to the committee after the events take place, and they will acknowledge the John Spencer Bassett Memorial Fund as a sponsor on advertisements, flyers, posters, programs, and other promotional literature.

All completed applications should be submitted through DukeGroups at least 2 weeks before the proposed event or publishing date to guarantee adequate time for the committee to process your request and interview applicants if necessary. The current deadline for Fall Applications is November 9th, 2020. 

Contact the Bassett Fund Chair Caleb Rummel ( if you have any questions about the Bassett Fund, its purpose, or the application process.