The University wishes to acknowledge the generous gifts of its donors, including the
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.