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Chevron grant helps fuel Stanford Graduate Fellowships program

The Stanford Graduate Fellowships program got a boost recently with a $1.5 million gift from Chevron Corp. This gift, the first from a major corporation, has been designated to support five graduate students a year, in perpetuity, in the schools of Earth Sciences and Engineering.

President Gerhard Casper, who has called this program a top priority for Stanford, said he was "particularly heartened" by the gift. He called it "yet another demonstration of Chevron's understanding of the needs of graduate students in the schools of Earth Sciences and Engineering."

Chevron has supported generations of students at Stanford. Chevron Chairman and CEO Ken Derr said, "Chevron is proud of our commitment in support of higher education and our long-term relationship with Stanford University," particularly because the industry benefits greatly from graduates from top universities. "We are especially pleased and proud to endow five fellowships in the schools of Engineering and Earth Sciences," he added. "We view our contribution as an investment to increase the numbers of high-quality graduates available to the energy industry."

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The Stanford Graduate Fellowships program was announced last April as a means to support graduate education in the face of anticipated cuts in federal support. Starting in the 1997 academic year, 129 graduate students in the sciences and engineering received a $16,000 stipend and a tuition voucher that covers 9 units for four quarters, or approximately $12,000. Because the funding for Stanford Graduate Fellowships is not tied to any specific research project or faculty grant, these students are able to choose their research projects based solely upon their intellectual interests.

To date, $125 million has been raised, mostly from individual donors. The first $100 million is being used to leverage gifts to the second $100 million. Each $300,000 gift from a new donor is matched by existing funds to create a $600,000 named endowed fund that supports a fellow for three years.

Recently, a number of corporations, in addition to Chevron, joined the list of supporters for this program, among them Rambus Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lucent Technologies. Casper said that corporate gifts are key to the success of this program: "We have set an ambitious goal ­ to raise $200 million in endowment to support graduate students in the sciences and engineering ­ and we hope for support from the business community. Indeed, Chevron's investment fully recognizes the contributions of these talented students to the advancement of basic research, to technological innovation and to economic growth. I look forward to seeing more companies follow Chevron's lead."


By Tamar Sofer-Geri

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