Focus on the Future

The changes that the Department and the University have undergone over the last 30 years have been dramatic, though not always obvious to those outside the academic environment. Within the Department, research labs have been added and expanded while familiar lecture halls like 1001 and 2074 Malott have been gradually upgraded to handle state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. The Department has seen a complete turnover in faculty from the early 80's, with the number of women increasing from 0 to 3, coupled to a steady rise in external funding and research interests ranging from astrobiology to nanotechnology to quantum theory.

Unfortunately, what has also risen at an alarming pace for our students is the cost of obtaining a degree at either the undergraduate or the graduate level, a product of the declining level of financial support from the State of Kansas, which now covers ~22% of the University budget, half of what it covered 30 years ago. Coupled with the ongoing decline in federal funding due to sequestration and budgetary conflicts, our ability to provide research support for deserving students and to maintain and upgrade our research and teaching labs at all levels has been severely compromised. Listed below are the endowed funds that have been created over the years, with an encouraging growth in the number in the last decade. The highest priorities for the Department are those Funds that supply unrestricted support to the entire Department (Physics and Astronomy Development Fund), to graduate students (Lowry Fund, Redeker Fund), and to research support and facilities (Nanofabrication Fund, MLO Telescope Fund, Tombaugh Fund, Zeller Fund). With the change in University policy for undergraduate scholarships, i.e. distribution of scholarships based upon academic record at the time of admission, our self-selected majors in Physics, Astronomy, and Engineering Physics are at a significant advantage compared to previous years when only a handful of department scholarships were available. However, the department endowed funds for undergraduate support still serve an important need and their expansion remains a priority. 

Overview of Endowed Funds

If an area suits your interests, you can donate directly and safely to the specific fund by using the appropriate link below.



Research Support and Instrumentation Funds


Fund Abstracts


Departmental Development Fund

This Fund provides unrestricted funds to support any need of the Department, including travel costs for invited speakers, student expenses for research and conferences, publication of the annual  newsletter, Momentum, etc.


AstrophysicsAstrophysics Faculty Fund

Financial support for the enhancement of faculty hires within Astronomy and Astrophysics.


Elizabeth CallenBadgley Fund

Financial support for a a female undergraduate majoring in any program within the Department. (Pictured at left is Elisabeth Callen, first recipient of the Badgely Scholarship). Past recipients can be found at this link.


Bob Curry Fund for Teaching Labs

This fund is established to support the teaching lab at the Department of Physics and Astronomy. This includes equipment, UG and Graduate Teaching Assistants support and any other expenditure that may enhance and/or upgrade the teaching labs.


Condensed Matter Physics Fund

The Condensed Matter Physics Fund offers unrestricted support for the CMP program.


SC RingEngineering Physics Fund

This fund is established to provide financial support and academic resources (tuition, research support, travel expenses, etc.) for students majoring in Engineering Physics.


Galaxy ImageHarriett Johnson Fund

Financial support for an incoming freshman majoring in Astronomy within the Department.


John LowryJohn Lowry Fund

Financial support for an exceptional graduate student within the Department or for recruiting a graduate student. Student must be a US citizen.


Telescope1.25MLO 1.25 Meter Telescope Partnership

Funds to overhaul and upgrade the Mt. Laguna Observatory, remote-access 1.25 meter telescope instrumentation, in partnership with San Diego State University. All donations will be matched dollar for dollar by the CLAS. A PDF brochure with details is accessible here. Signed (by Clyde Tombaugh) copies of Clyde Tombaugh's biography will be provided for any donation above $500 - only a limited number are available.


Nano simulationNanofabrication Lab Fund

Financial support for a graduate student working within Condensed Matter/Nano Physics and support for the Nanofabrication Lab.


Frank Prosser Fund

Financial support for an outstanding sophomore student majoring in Physics or Engineering Physics. Past recipients can be found at this link.


physics logo Redeker Graduate Fellowship Fund

Financial support for a graduate student working toward a PhD within the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The candidate must be a high academic achiever with a verifiable financial need. The student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.


StranathanStranathan Fund

Financial support for an outstanding senior Physics or Engineering Physics major. Past recipients can be found at this link.


Stranathan Professor of Experimental Physics Fund

Financial and research support for a faculty member working within any area of experimental physics.


Undergrad ScholarsUndergraduate Scholars Fund

Financial support for an incoming freshman in any major within the Department


Ed ZellerZeller Fund for Instrumentation

Support for the purchase of instrumentation for research or lab use.