School of Science Seeks Funding for Equipment Endowment

Photography by Gabrielle Diaz '11

With an initial pledge of $25,000, the School of Science has started a drive to build an endowment to acquire scientific equipment and support student-centered research projects.

School of Science Dean Brian Jersky said that the endowment will produce a dependable yearly income to provide faculty and students with the resources to meet national standards and to do more and better research.

“The nice thing about it for me was that it focuses on students,” Jersky says. “It’s directly benefiting the students.”

Saint Mary’s built the state-of-the-art science building Brother Alfred Brousseau Hall, which was dedicated in 2000, but there wasn’t money for an endowment for operating costs and maintenance expenses. Equipment needs to be replaced each year and technological advances also make it necessary to buy new equipment.

“Science equipment is very expensive, ranging from the mundane — the test tube used in freshman classes — to the high-end equipment,” Jersky says. “Eight-year-old scientific equipment is already quite old.”

Dr. Karl Beutner ’71 is spearheading a School of Science development committee (formed from the School of Science Advisory Board) to build the endowment. Benefactors who support the endowment with $100, $500, $1,500 and $5,000 per year will receive special announcements and invitations to events with the dean and faculty. Donors who pledge $25,000 or more will have the opportunity to name faculty offices and classrooms in Brousseau Hall or Galileo Hall.

The support will help Saint Mary’s students and faculty engage in high-quality research year-round.

“Students work in the lab with faculty hands-on,” Jersky says, adding that at most colleges, only graduate students would have full access to labs and professors. The work has paid off: SMC students have won numerous awards in recent years in annual Sigma Xi science competitions.

The school has identified a number of equipment needs, from a functional MRI machine to a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer and permanent hydrological gauging stations.

For more information or to contribute, please contact Ron Turner in the Development Department at (925) 631-4356. The School of Science is planning an open house for alumni and friends in fall 2008 to promote the endowment and showcase the school and its students.