image of LAURA students and BOV member standing in front of a CLA backdrop

A Celebration of Philanthropy and Gratitude: LAURAs Gift Match

The Liberal Arts Undergraduate Research Awards (LAURAs) creates more opportunities for undergraduate students to develop research skills by working with faculty mentors on faculty-led research projects while increasing support for faculty research in the College of Liberal Arts.

Studies and experiences outside of the classroom are essential to receiving a well-rounded education. College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Dean, Dr. Richard Deeg, made the LAURAs program a priority both in education and philanthropy. With a call to action, the faculty, alumni and friends of CLA took charge of ensuring this program remains accessible through varied endowed scholarships.

Stan James, along with his family, wife Jenny, daughter Fritzi and son-in-law Dan, seeded a matching gift fund that would create an opportunity to endow 9 scholarship funds in support of the LAURAs. Although the James' family generosity was the first step of this philanthropic journey, our esteemed alumni and faculty of CLA have shown their support of this program through their own philanthropic natures. The following faculty members and alumni have all contributed to the completion of the James' LAURAs matching gift: Dr. Lucy Bregman, Drs. Bill and Penny Cutler, Dr. Miriam Solomon and her husband, Dr. John Clark, Dr. Hal Shanis '78, '82and his wife Dr. Julie Stone, R.J. Tallarida '06 and wife Kelly Lynne Tallarida, CLA Board of Visitors members, Nancy Tabas '73 and her husband Lee Tabas, and Addison Braendel '87. The final matching gift was made by our valued Board of Visitors as a collective show of support for the LAURAs program.

To further show our eternal gratitude for this support, we invited the donors to the fall semester Board of Visitors conference this past September. In partnership with the LAURAs program, we asked several of our faculty and student LAURAs recipients to present their research to further show the importance of supporting experiential learning programs such as the LAURAs. The presenters were Dr. Judith Levine with student Juliya Medyukh, Dr. Jason Chein with student Alex Barone, and Dr. Nyron Crawford with student James Gray. The presentations and following conversations during the board meeting reinforced how valuable the support from the College of Liberal Arts community truly is. With this gratitude in mind, we also asked Stan James to speak on his philanthropy in support of the LAURAs, which was met with hope for continued success for and in the program and a standing ovation from all attendees.

To learn more about the LAURAs program, the faculty and student team recipients, please visit the LAURAs webpage.