Up to the Challenge

Private support offers many students undergraduate research opportunities.
Private support offers many students undergraduate research opportunities.

A $350,000 two-to-one challenge grant from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation of Richmond will help fund a variety of resources in Radford University’s new Center for the Sciences.

“The grant would be transformative for the College of Science and Technology,” states Orion Rogers, Dean of the College of Science and Technology (CSAT). “It would provide new resources for our students and faculty as well as inspire our college to pursue funding challenges and work collaboratively to accomplish them.

“We wish you every success in your efforts to match this grant,” Amy P. Nisenson, executive director of The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, wrote in a Nov. 23, 2015 letter announcing the challenge.

In order to receive the funds, Radford University must raise $700,000 as a direct result of the foundation’s commitment. As of October 2016, Radford University had raised over $560,000.

“This grant could also help establish new partnerships and inspire CSAT alumni and friends to re-engage with the exciting teaching, research and science education outreach activities being conducted by our faculty,” Rogers continued.

According to Rogers, the grant could fund research and educational assets such as the green roof, the biowall, interactive exhibits, a leafcutter ant colony, whisper dishes, an energy display and a career kiosk, among other resources.

“These items would enhance the teaching and learning opportunities for our faculty and students as well as inspire our Science Days visitors and prospective students to join us as majors in the College of Science and Technology,” Rogers explains.

The Center for the Sciences is a 114,000-square-foot state-of-the-art building which provides advanced technology classrooms and facilities supporting science education and outreach at the University. The building features 18 teaching labs as well as five additional classrooms and incorporates a bioresearch lab, a forensic sciences research lab, nine science specific research labs, a vivarium, the Museum of the Earth Sciences and a planetarium. The building opened for classes beginning in January 2016.

Founded in 1988 by Mary Morton Parsons, the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation supports the capital needs of charitable organizations. To date, the foundation has awarded approximately $73 million to qualified grantees.