Dave Karlgaard '67 and his wife, Marilyn, come to campus every year to meet with scholarship recipients. "The students are excellent. You can tell they want this degree," Karlgaard said. "They want success in their career and it's fun to be able to help them achieve that."
Longtime benefactors Dave and Marilyn Karlgaard said they recently established two new scholarship funds because they admire the mathematics and physics programs at UW-Eau Claire for their focus on applied learning and research opportunities. The gifts through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation will encourage advancement and innovation in the sciences, which Dave Karlgaard, a self-described "math and physics guy at heart," knows well from experience.
The couple established the Karlgaard Mathematics Scholarship and Karlgaard Physics Scholarship, each endowed over a five-year period by Karlgaard Family Foundation grants of $100,000. While the endowments are building, the Karlgaards are supporting annual awards of $500 beginning with the 2011-12 academic year.
"We wanted to recognize the important contributions that math and physics made in my career and to help the university," said Dave Karlgaard, a 1967 UW-Eau Claire graduate who went on to co-found and serve as CEO and president of an Internet technology consulting firm.
"Math and physics are the underlying principles that are critical to science-related careers. By applying the fundamentals, that's where the value comes," Karlgaard said.
Dr. J. Erik Hendrickson, professor and former chair of the astronomy and physics department, and Dr. Alex Smith, professor and chair of the mathematics department, appreciate the opportunities these scholarships offer to high-achieving students.
"We are a small department with relatively few scholarships available to recognize our outstanding students," Hendrickson said. "A gift like this will encourage our very best students to strive for excellence in both the classroom and the laboratory, specifically in applied physics and/or computational science fields of study."
Smith noted that the connection between math and physics has led to technological and theoretical discoveries ever since Isaac Newton founded calculus and physics. "These scholarships build on this disciplinary interplay, fostering connections between mathematics, physics and the more modern field of computational science. This not only supports individual students, but is also a societal investment that encourages more discovery," Smith said.
Other major gifts from the Karlgaards that have already benefited countless students include the Karlgaard Computer Science Scholarship Fund and the Karlgaard Excellence in Computer Science Program at UW-Eau Claire.