UW News

June 5, 2008

Stories of giving: Faculty, staff, retirees make a difference by supporting students

News and Information

As Campaign UW: Creating Futures enters the home stretch, it is time to reflect on some gifts to the Faculty-Staff-Retiree Campaign for Students that are making a difference.

Endowment gifts to support undergraduate or graduate and professional students that are made to the UW by faculty, staff or retirees are eligible for a 100 percent match. Gifts must be between $5,000 and $10,000 and can be paid over as many as five years. People can contribute to existing endowments or they can start their own. For details, see <a href=http://uwfoundation.org/home/staff_stu_camp.asp>here</a>.

Joe and Jill McKinstry have created an endowment, paying in-state tuition costs for an Information School student planning a career in academic librarianship and coming from an underrepresented population. Students who receive the fellowship also are provided with a work opportunity in University Libraries with support from the Kenneth S. Allen Endowment. Thus far, six students have benefited from the endowment and every one of them has found work in an academic setting.

Academic libraries are often competing with public and school libraries for talented students, says Jill McKinstry, who is director of Odegaard Undergraduate Library. “Joe and I thought it would be great to start a program that would provide a fellowship to cover tuition and also provide the opportunity to work in an academic library. This has worked out well, as the graduate students can select what area of academic librarianship they would like to work in, and we try to make a good placement. As our student body becomes more diverse, it is crucial that that we have a diverse library staff.”

The current fellowship recipient is Khue Duong, who has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UCLA and a master’s degree in linguistics from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He worked for several years in software change management as well as university operations as a graduate student, teaching assistant and administrator.

“I am very fortunate and grateful to receive the McKinstry Fellowship,” he says. “First, the financial reward helps offset a significant amount of my out-of-state tuition. Second, the fellowship provides me with an unparalleled opportunity to work with many dedicated and highly skilled staff members.” Duong currently is working in Reference and Information Services at the Suzzallo and Allen Libraries; he also has been involved in workshops for undergraduates and taught a workshop on information searching for geography students.

“Khue Duong is absolutely top notch, with an extensive background in working with students in multicultural and international settings,” says Jill McKinstry. “He is committed to working with diverse populations in higher education and will be a fabulous librarian.”

Another endowment created by a UW librarian is the Linda Gould Endowed Fellowship for Children’s and Youth Services, which provides financial assistance to master’s students in the Information School who intend to pursue careers in children and youth services librarianship.

Gould graduated with a master’s degree from the UW in library science in 1970. She was with the Seattle public library until 1973, writing a history of the children’s department of the library. She joined the UW in 1973 and retired in 2000.

“When I decided to go to school to become a librarian, I was fortunate enough to receive what was the only fellowship in the nation for children’s services from the American Library Association,” Gould says. “I’ve always been grateful for the opportunity that I received, and creating this fellowship was my way of giving back. I believe that love of books and reading must start with children. I just hope the students who receive this fellowship end up having as satisfying a career as I had.”

The current recipient of the fellowship is Destinee Sutton, who became interested in librarianship while working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia during a time when a major election was occurring. During her training there she visited a public library and realized how important libraries are.

“People were learning about the candidates and the election process in the libraries and it was so interesting to me,” she says. “In Namibia I saw that the library was a crucial part of the democratic process and that’s what inspired me to pursue librarianship as a career.” Because Sutton has worked in schools, daycares, preschools and summer camps, it was natural for her to consider becoming a children’s librarian, which is now her career goal.

The School of Dentistry also has been the beneficiary of important gifts that benefit students. The Robert Johnson Student Support Fund was created by Robert O’Neal, former dean of clinical services in the School of Dentistry, to recognize Johnson, his longtime friend and mentor. The scholarship is awarded to a student who excels in periodontics and oral medicine, and is used to promote the recruitment of outstanding UW students into the graduate program in periodontics.

Johnson, who is now an emeritus professor, devoted tremendous energy to shaping the skills and knowledge of class after class of UW dental students. O’Neal met Johnson when he interviewed for a position at the UW. “When I got here, I was 48,” he says. “You don’t think of yourself at nearly 50 needing a mentor, but it’s somebody to keep you going. He’s the teacher’s teacher, in my book. He’s very tough on students in that he expects them to know their stuff, but they love him to death. Not many people can leave here and be respected by faculty, graduate students, dental students and staff the way he was when he retired. He’s a unique individual.”

The current holder of the Johnson scholarship is Kristin Metcalf, who has been ranked in the top ten of her class in her last three years at the school. She is a recipient of several other awards for her academic achievements.

The Dr. Tony Ponti Memorial Endowed Scholarship, established in 2006, was created by Joseph Grillo, a professor in the Restorative Dentistry Department, in memory of Ponti, who died in 2000. In conjunction with a scholarship set up by Ponti’s parents, it provides scholarship support for pre-doctoral students based on academic merit and financial need.

Ponti received several degrees from the UW— a bachelor’s in chemistry, a DDS, as well as a certificate and a master’s degree in prosthodontics. Grillo chose to honor Ponti, whom he knew both as a student and as an affiliate faculty member.

The current scholarship recipient, Jason Dashow, is a third-year dentistry student who plans on obtaining an M.D. in oral surgery and specializing in care for children with cleft conditions and other craniofacial anomalies.

The Faculty-Staff-Retiree Campaign runs through the end of 2008. The total value of all the endowments in this campaign is more than $8 million. So far, 351 faculty, 90 staff and 100 retirees have participated in the campaign.