John J. Alexander Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship

The Department of Chemistry would like to announce the John J. Alexander Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship to which donations are currently being accepted. This fund has been established as a memorial to John J. Alexander in recognition of his many years of service to the undergraduates of this Department.

In establishing special funds such as this, we make a special effort to find an aspect of the Honoree's contributions that have been unique and to translate these special contributions into an ongoing program that will provide a significant benefit to the Department in generations to come. For many years, John Alexander was the departmental advocate for all of our undergraduate students. He was always the one to remind the rest of the faculty of the needs of our freshman program, and indeed, of all of our undergraduate programs in general. He was a staunch supporter of the quality of these programs and was always available to our students with sound and fair advice. During the last few years of his life, John devoted himself to the development of an undergraduate summer research program. The purpose of this program was to provide support for enthusiastic undergraduates to spend a summer working in the laboratories of one of the research groups in the Department of Chemistry. Since these students are usually between their junior and senior years, this experience will have a significant impact upon their decisions to go directly into the job market or into graduate programs or other professional programs. John was eminently successful in generating funding for this program in the past two years from the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Without John's tireless efforts, this program would not have become available in this Department, and given the vagrancies of federal funding, could disappear in at any time. Therefore, the faculty would like to establish an endowment fund that insures that the opportunity for undergraduates to participate in an active research program before they have to make critical life decisions. The Alexander Fund will serve this purpose.

The Alexander Fund is an endowed fund, which would support this program from the interest generated annually from its principal. The ultimate goal would be to have sufficient funds available to support at least one, and hopefully more, outstanding undergraduate student during a summer of learning what it is like to conduct research in the stimulating environment of a group participating in frontier research. As a demonstration of the strong departmental support for this initiative, the Department has agreed to underwrite this program beginning in the summer of 2003 until the Alexander Fund can be brought to a level where it is self-sustaining for the support of at least one undergraduate student each year. So long as the NSF REU program is active within this Department, the selection of the Alexander Fellowship awardee will be coordinated through that program, and will go to one of the most outstanding applicants to that program. Should the REU program cease to be funded, for whatever reason, the Alexander Fund would continue to support undergraduate summer research fellowships in numbers consistent with the funds generated annually. Therefore, in upcoming years, we shall be seeking donations to the Alexander Fund to a level that will make this possible on an annual basis. We do hope that many of our alumni and friends can support this most worthy effort by making donations to the Alexander Fund.

PleaseĀ donate now. In the comments section of the donation form, please state that your gift should go to the John J. Alexander Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship fund.