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A 'math and physics guy' funds scholarships for science careers

RELEASED: Feb. 25, 2011

Dave and Marilyn Karlgaard
Dave and Marilyn Karlgaard recently established two scholarships to support applied learning in the sciences.

EAU CLAIRE — Longtime University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire benefactors Dave and Marilyn Karlgaard recently established two new scholarship funds because they admire the university's mathematics and physics programs and their focus on applied learning and research opportunities. Their gifts 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 Great Falls, Va., couple established the Karlgaard Mathematics Scholarship and Karlgaard Physics Scholarship with the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Each scholarship will be 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 each, which will begin 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."

Dr. J. Erik Hendrickson, professor and chair of the physics and astronomy department, and Dr. Alex Smith, professor and chair of the mathematics department, are excited about 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."

According to Smith, the connection between math and physics can be transformational and 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.

The Karlgaards, who were the national chairs of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation's successful Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence campaign, already have a computer science scholarship fund in place. Since 2001 more than 100 Karlgaard Computer Science scholarships have been awarded to outstanding and deserving computer science majors.

To learn more about these scholarships, the Karlgaard Computer Science Scholarship Fund, the Karlgaard Excellence in Computer Science Program and other funds through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, please visit the Foundation website. For more information on establishing funds with the Foundation, contact Kimera Way, Foundation executive director, at waykk@uwec.edu.

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RD/DW

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