Oxy Secures $1 Million Challenge Grant
A $1 million challenge grant from the John Stauffer Charitable Trust will help Occidental College create a permanent endowment to support chemistry students participating in its nationally recognized Summer Research Program.
The grant from the Pasadena, Calif.-based Stauffer Trust will serve as a springboard to raise a total of $3.5 million -- an amount sufficient to support as many as 23 students conducting research in all aspects of the chemical sciences, including biochemistry and analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry.
Given the Stauffer grant and a current endowment of $398,300, Occidental has agreed to raise the remaining $2.1 million by June 2011. “Years ago, thanks to the vision and commitment of faculty, Occidental established the foundation for this endowment,” said Chris Craney, professor of chemistry and director of Occidental’s Undergraduate Research Program. “The Stauffer challenge recognizes the excellence we have achieved in undergraduate research and offers a way to leverage our resources to benefit future generations of students.”
The challenge grant already has begun to yield results: more than $110,000 has been raised, including a generous commitment from Christine and Robert T.K. Chui, M.D. ’72.
Occidental’s Undergraduate Research Program – recipient of a 1998 NSF Integration of Research and Education Award – was cited as one of the country’s best in Academic Excellence: The Source Book. Over the past eight years, more than 700 Occidental students have received funding to undertake joint summer research with faculty. Occidental routinely has the largest contingent at the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research of any participating school, and this year had 25 students accepted to present their research at the National Undergraduate Research Conference -- more than UCLA, Caltech, Yale, and Stanford combined.
Participants in undergraduate research not only present at regional and national conferences and publish their results in peer-reviewed journals, but routinely win major national awards. For example, over the past eight years, undergraduate research students have won 12 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, of whom 10 were chemistry and biochemistry majors. Occidental’s chemistry and biochemistry students have done well in other national award competitions, winning numerous Fulbright, Beckman, and Norris scholarships.
A nationally ranked, highly selective liberal arts college – one of the few located in a major city – 120-year-old Occidental is at the forefront of interdisciplinary, intercultural education that integrates the classroom with community-based learning. With 1,800 students drawn from 46 states and 21 countries, Occidental is widely recognized for its ability to sustain a traditional commitment to high achievement while enrolling a remarkably diverse student body. Thirty-eight percent are students of color, 15 percent are first generation students, and more than 75 percent receive some form of financial aid.
The John Stauffer Charitable Trust was established in 1974 by John Stauffer, executive vice president of the Stauffer Chemical Co., which extracted chemicals and mineral deposits from San Francisco Bay. Grants are made to American hospitals, universities, and colleges for projects and programs that link science and medicine in education, research, and treatment, and those which emphasize chemistry.