Radford University Receives Challenge Grant for Science Outreach

A $350,000 challenge grant from The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation of Richmond will help enhance the academic and outreach facilities in Radford University’s new Center for the Sciences, which opened this spring semester.

“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 letter announcing the challenge.

The gift will be made when $700,000 is raised as a direct result of the foundation’s commitment. The challenge must be met by November 2016.

“The grant would be transformative for the College of Science and Technology,” said 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.

“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.

“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 that provides advanced technology classrooms and facilities supporting science education and outreach at the University. The building will feature 18 teaching labs and five additional classrooms, and will incorporate nine faculty and student collaborative research labs in anthropological science, biology and chemistry, a forensic sciences research lab, the Museum of the Earth Sciences and a planetarium. Construction of the building commenced in August 2012, and faculty began moving in during December to prepare for spring semester classes.

Founded in 1988 by Mrs. 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.