CHES was established in December, 1996, as part of Rutgers University’s Strategic Planning Implementation Process. Based in the Department of Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences, New Brunswick, CHES is the research and field training arm of the department’s undergraduate and graduate programs in Evolutionary Anthropology. The center’s primary mission is the discovery, teaching, and public dissemination of knowledge on the origin, evolution, and biological and ecological bases of human behavior.

CHES was established with generous financial support from Rutgers’ central administration. The University Vice President for Academic Affairs allocated to the center $750,000 of the Albert Fellows Bequest to Rutgers University on January 1, 1997. The funds were designated as a five-year challenge grant to an endowment for CHES. The University Vice President for Academic Affairs acknowledged in a letter dated May 2, 2001, that CHES had met this first challenge on the merits of private donations from a number of individuals, particularly a bequest of $750,000 from Mr. Nicholas G. Rutgers, III, in October, 2000. In the same letter, the Vice President allocated to CHES an additional $250,000 from the Fellows Bequest as a three-year challenge, all but $6,000 of which was met by the time of the writing of the center’s June 2003 report. That shortfall had been erased within the three-year deadline, and by the writing of this report has been exceeded by over $200,000.

Over the years, CHES has grown to be recognized internationally for the outstanding research which has been produced in its name. Listed below are all the previous Directors that have served CHES over the years.

Previous CHES Directors


 2022: Erin Vogel is elected Director of CHES.


2012: Ryne Palombit is elected Director of CHES.


2011: Ryne Palombit is elected Acting Director of CHES.


2010: Lee Cronk is appointed Acting Director of CHES. 


1996: CHES is established with Robert Blumenschine as its first Director.