When Ross MacKinnon, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), was asked how friends and colleagues could honor him when he retires at the end of this academic year, his wish list had one item: by giving to the new CLAS Graduate Fellows Fund.
The non-endowed fund began last fall as a new annual appeal to graduate alumni of CLAS. It provides fellowships and awards for graduate students and offers support for the summer, when graduate students often have no financial aid.
It may be used to supplement grant support for students collaborating with faculty on research, and to enhance teaching assistantships for students who mentor undergraduates.
MacKinnon recently gave the fund a major boost with his own gift.
In honor of MacKinnon, faculty, staff and friends have also established a new endowed fund in his name to provide a permanent source of support for his chosen cause.
The Dean Ross MacKinnon Endowment for CLAS Graduate Fellows will offer critical merit- and need-based support to graduate students in perpetuity.
So far, more than $20,000 has been raised for the CLAS Graduate Fellows Fund, and more than $13,000 for the Dean Ross MacKinnon Endowment for CLAS Graduate Fellows.
The endowment is a fitting tribute to a dean who has served CLAS for nearly 12 years, overseeing the development of a strategic plan that makes support for graduate education a major goal.
With 23 departments in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, CLAS is the University’s academic core.
In 2007, CLAS accounted for nearly a third of the University’s graduate students. The College granted 307 master’s degrees and 157 doctorates last year.
Offering fellowships and awards will enable the College to recruit a diverse, high-caliber pool of graduate students.
The endowment will also enhance the University’s competitiveness for the best graduate students by offering dissertation fellowships, multi-year stipends, and project funding.
“This fund reflects Ross’s appreciation of the importance of graduate education to the health of the College,” wrote the CLAS associate deans, in describing the endowment to faculty and staff.
“After all, master’s and doctoral students are crucial to the College’s teaching and research missions.”
To support the MacKinnon endowment, please contact Frank Gifford at 860.486.6798.