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College Receives Grant from Sherman Fairchild Foundation
The College's oversight of Millport Conservancy (above) is one of a host of initiatives introduced over the past decade relating to environmental research and teaching at F&M. A $499,473 grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation will continue to enhance environmental research and teaching at the College.
President Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D., announced yesterday that the Sherman Fairchild Foundation has awarded a $499,473 grant to Franklin & Marshall to purchase scientific instruments that will enhance environmental research and teaching at the College. The five-year grant will benefit students in courses at all levels of the curriculum and in research projects across several scientific disciplines.
The grant is the most recent development in the evolution of environmental science research and teaching at F&M. Over the past three years, the College has introduced the Carolyn S. and Robert W. Wohlsen Center for the Sustainable Environment, begun oversight of Millport Conservancy, and created the Keith and Dorothy Spalding Conservancy less than one mile from campus.
The award was the result of collaboration among administrators and faculty members over the past year. Leading the effort were Carol de Wet, associate dean of the faculty and professor of geosciences, Dick Fluck, associate dean of the faculty and Dr. E. Paul and Frances H. Reiff Professor of Biology, and Ryan Sauder, director of corporate and foundation relations. The three worked with numerous faculty members to coordinate a site visit by consultants to the Sherman Fairchild Foundation last November.
“This was the best team effort I’ve been a part of. It was an all-hands-on-deck project,” Fluck says. “We received input from every faculty member who proposed a new instrument about what courses the instrument would be used in and what it does. We had terrific cooperation.”
In the first year of the grant, the College will purchase a scanning electron microscope and nine carbon dioxide analyzers with G265 mass flow meters. By 2015, the College plans to purchase many other instruments for teaching and research purposes in the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Environment, and Physics & Astronomy.
“These instruments will allow us to ‘see’ the world in new ways, and to do so in the broadest sense,” de Wet says. “For example, students will be able to measure plant respiration, examine the smallest details of crystals, or look at the hairs on a spider’s leg. The instruments give students a chance to study on a new scale.”
Fluck and de Wet note that the Sherman Fairchild Foundation was especially interested in the grant's having a positive impact on students across the curriculum. To that end, the College emphasized in its grant proposal that 54 percent of F&M graduates between 2005 and 2009 received credit in at least one course that would directly benefit from the grant.