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Hewlett, Packard endow fellowships to launch new scientists
STANFORD -- A $25 million gift to launch young scientists was announced Wednesday, April 6, by Stanford University President Gerhard Casper.
William Hewlett and David Packard, founders of the Hewlett-Packard Co., made the gift to establish and endow a new Terman Fellowships program. They said they wish to honor the late Frederick Terman, the former Stanford professor, dean and provost to whom they give credit for much of their, Stanford's and the Silicon Valley's success.
Packard's and Hewlett's gift will allow outstanding junior faculty in the natural sciences and engineering at Stanford to obtain up to $100,000 annually for three years as they launch their own research programs, said Provost Condoleezza Rice.
In a letter thanking Hewlett and Packard for their latest of many gifts to Stanford, Casper said that "the provost and I are convinced that our long-term health in the sciences and in engineering rests on our ability to attract and retain the brightest young faculty."
Over the past decade and particularly since the end of the Cold War, Stanford officials say, assistant professors across the country have had a tougher time competing with senior scientists for federal grants that would permit them to start their own labs and recruit graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to work with them.
"The gift provides a way of renewing our faculty and carrying on the entrepreneurship started by Frederick Terman when he was the dean of engineering at Stanford," said James Gibbons, dean of the Engineering School.
"It's the first program at Stanford in engineering and natural sciences that can be counted upon and used wherever the need is greatest," rather than in a specific department or field, Gibbons said.
With Hewlett's and Packard's help, the university is switching Terman's emphasis from recruiting senior faculty standouts to "growing its own junior stars who will eventually replace those senior scholars," said John Shoven, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences.
Stanford is a leader in developing the next generation of scientists, Shoven said, as evidenced by the fact that the university attracts more winners of National Science Foundation fellowships than any other university.
Terman brought Hewlett and Packard together when they were Stanford engineering students. He helped them get their business going in Packard's garage in 1939 and is widely credited with building Stanford's scientific excellence through careful recruitment of outstanding faculty in key fields. He died in 1982.
Gift funds to Stanford's engineering school in Terman's time were invested in faculty rather than in buildings and equipment. Packard, speaking at Terman's retirement in 1965, said Terman was responsible, more than any other individual, for the formation of the Silicon Valley's technological base.
"It was his vision that the academic community of a university and the business community of the adjacent area could and should work together for the benefit of both," Packard said. Corporate leaders, he said, "are becoming much more aware of the importance of the great universities like Stanford to the welfare and progress of society at large.
"We hope this gift will be used to maintain Stanford's traditional leadership in science and technology."
Shoven and Gibbons said that approximately four Terman fellows will be chosen each year for three years of support, which means that there will be approximately a dozen Terman fellows at a time. The first fellowships will be awarded for the 1994-95 academic year and will vary in size, depending upon need. For instance, laboratory scientists often have greater financial requirements than non-laboratory scientists.
Current setup costs for junior faculty in laboratory sciences range between $300,000 and $700,000, often including renovation of a laboratory, specialized equipment and technical support. Some federal grants are given on the condition that the junior faculty member can provide matching funds, which the Terman fellowships will allow the university to provide.
Similar programs exist on a national level but are rare for individual universities. At Stanford, some junior scientists have been able to finance equipment, graduate student tuition and technician salaries from fellowships provided by the Charles Lee Powell Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. A very few programs also exist for much smaller grants to junior faculty in the behavioral sciences and the humanities.
Casper said that "it is important for school planning purposes, and for the ability to use the fellowship resources most effectively in recruiting outstanding junior faculty, that selection decisions be given to the two schools" - Engineering, and Humanities and Sciences.
Scientists with partial appointments in other schools also will be eligible for the fellowships, he said. The deans of the two schools will each convene a panel of senior faculty members to advise them on the annual selection, Casper said.
The funds will be useful not only in attracting new doctoral candidates, Gibbons said, but also junior scientists who are currently working in industrial labs. None of the funds will be used to replace the faculty member's base salary, the deans said.
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