University of Memphis Magazine
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Summer 09 Features

SUMMER 2009 HOME PAGE

Taking care of business
A point to prove
Clearing some space
Operation smile
Tapping your potential
Game play


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Sportsbit: U of M Soccer
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Noteworthy Happenings
Development News
The University wishes to acknowledge the generous gifts of its donors, including the following:

The Ciba Foundation Inc. established the Ciba Foundation Scholars Fund in Chemistry. The funds will be awarded as annual stipends to attract, educate and retain top undergraduate and graduate students in chemistry. The foundation also made a one-time donation toward the purchase of equipment that will support undergraduate chemistry research.

The Volkswagen Group of America has pledged a gift of $1 million to the U of M as part of a statewide program of support to secondary and post-secondary institutions in Tennessee. The U of M’’s gift will be used to support the University’’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) program, in which University professors work with middle and high school teachers to make them more proficient in those areas and to help them interest students in pursuing those fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The University currently awards degrees to more than 800 teachers annually and is the primary supplier of teachers in West Tennessee. Howewver, only a handful of teachers graduate each year with expertise in mathematics and the physical sciences, resulting in deficiencies in instruction across the region. Last year, for example, Tennessee was one of at least two states that produced only one new certified high school physics teacher. That has a negative ripple effect on student interest in pursuing STEM disciplines, particularly among those who have traditionally been underrepresented in these professions.

The gift is particularly timely for the U of M, because it has recently launched a campus-wide initiative to focus, coordinate and advance efforts to recruit, retain and prepare the next generation of researchers, educators and industry professionals associated with STEM courses.

Connie L. Burk was recognized at the journalism awards banquet for her endowment of the Bill E. Burk Journalism Student Travel Fund. The endowment was established in memory of her husband, Bill Burk, who died in 2008. It will provide travel funds for undergraduate and graduate journalism students to attend professional and academic conferences.

Bill Burk, who earned a degree in journalism 51 years ago, enjoyed a rich and successful media career. He worked for 35 years at the Memphis Press-Scimitar, beginning there is 1957.

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