Multiple Endowments Established in Mathematics
The earning of an undergraduate scholarship helped propel future Expedia.com co-founder Byron Bishop to graduate from the UW in 1986 with a bachelor of science in both computer science and mathematics. Never able to thank the establisher of the scholarship directly (he had passed on by the time it was awarded to Bishop), he was always looking for another way to say thank you. Last autumn he and his wife Sheila, another UW scholarship beneficiary, generously established the Mathematics Undergraduate Endowed Scholarship.
Bishop believes that coming to the UW was by far the best decision of his life, and he and his wife hope to allow future students in mathematics to focus less on tuition and more on their studies, just as their scholarships allowed them to do. Says Bishop, "(We're) trying to make it easier for someone to concentrate on getting the most from their education."
The Bishops' generous endowment is just one of several that the Department has received in the past year.
Over the summer, John and Kathy Connors joined the Bishops in aiding future Mathematics undergraduates with the establishment of the John and Kathy Connors Foundation Endowed Scholarship. Designed to provide assistance to Mathematics majors in the Educational Opportunity Program, the Connors' gift will grant educational opportunities to deserving, high achieving students who would not otherwise be able to afford a UW education.
The endowments received in the past year have been further enhanced by the UW's Matching Initiative, which provides donors with even more incentive to give by multiplying the power of their gifts. "It makes the endowments so much more productive," says UW graduate and UW Foundation Member Maggie Walker. In addition to gifts distributed across other UW departments, this year she and her husband Doug created the Walker Family Endowed Professorship in Mathematics, which will help the Department continue to compete with other mathematics departments across the nation.
As a graduate of the Department and co-founder of software company WRQ, Inc., Doug Walker believes that not only is mathematics still an important part of his intellectual life, but an important discipline to keep strong. It is the Walkers' hope that their endowment will aid the Mathematics Department in doing so. "We hope to keep the Department strong and continually attract faculty that will enliven the place," explains Ms. Walker.
In addition to their professorship, the Walkers have also created the Walker Family ARCS Fellowship, which will benefit graduate students in both Mathematics and CSE.
Craig McKibben began his involvement with the Mathematics Department by earning a Master of Science degree in 1972. Explains McKibben, "I've always been interested in science, and math seemed the best way to understand the language of science." His intent was to combine mathematics and computers, and as the computing era was still in its infancy, as McKibben puts it, "Computer science was math." He is quick to point out that the study of mathematics fosters the ability to think logically and sequentially, a valuable skill in programming.
McKibben went on to become another co-founder of WRQ, Inc., and this year he and his wife Sarah Merner have made incredible contributions of their own to the Department. Together they created both the Craig McKibben and Sarah Merner Endowed Fellowship in Mathematics and the Craig McKibben and Sarah Merner Endowed Professorship in Mathematics, bolstering the Department in two key areas.
"The Department is on an upward trajectory," says McKibben, "and when you're on an upward trajectory, you can always use more resources to do things." Both he and his wife want to help Mathematics continue the progress it has made in recent years. With the support of all of those who have been so generous, it will continue to do just that, growing and thriving far into the future.