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December 5, 2002

Retiree legacy: Fund supports graduate education

They worked at the UW, some for many years. Now they have retired. Yet many UW retirees retain a strong loyalty to the University and its students. So, the UW Retirement Association (UWRA) and The Graduate School have teamed up to offer retirees an opportunity to make a permanent difference in the lives of graduate students.

The UW Retired Faculty & Staff Endowed Fellowship Campaign will increase financial support for graduate students. This will allow the University to recruit the best graduate students, since fellowship support is often the deciding factor in where students choose to go.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of increasing the number of graduate fellowships,” says Ernest Henley, professor emeritus of physics and dean emeritus of the College of Arts and Sciences. “They make the difference between being able to attract outstanding students and losing them to one of our peers. Moreover, they are needed to keep outstanding faculty at the University. In view of the declining state support, increasing graduate fellowships is essential.”

“One exciting aspect of this campaign is that The Graduate School will provide matching funds to ‘top off’ the fellowships,” says Alicia Edgar, director of development for The Graduate School. For each $75,000 gift, the school will supply an additional $25,000 to complete the fellowship endowment.” The Graduate School has set aside enough matching funds to create 30 new endowed fellowships.

Those individuals who create a fellowship endowment have the option for recognizing the lifelong contributions of staff and faculty through the naming of the endowment. All retired faculty and staff, their spouses or partners, or surviving spouses and partners, are eligible to participate. Fellowship endowments can be created in any discipline or area of study.

Gifts of any size will be accepted. Contributions and pledges of less than $75,000 can be directed to a new UWRA Endowed Fellowship fund, which resulted from a campaign lead-off gift from the UWRA. Funds will be raised from individual UWRA members and from an entrance fee paid by non-members of the association who live at University House at Issaquah. The fellowship will support graduate students from diverse backgrounds and/or students who have an interest in issues of aging.

One of the challenges of this campaign, Edgar says, is making sure that all retirees are aware of this matching gift opportunity. Therefore, word of mouth can play an important role.

For information and questions about the campaign, contact Edgar at 206-616-3505 or aedgar@u.washington.edu.