Howard Hughes Medical Institute Awards $45.4 Million
for Undergraduate Science Education at 52 Colleges and Universities;
Centenary College Receives $600,000 for Biosciences, Research, Equipment

Contact: Lynn B. Stewart, Centenary News Service
318-869-5120 or 869-5709

SHREVEPORT, La., July 24, 1996 -- Centenary College of Louisiana is one of 52 colleges and universities in the nation who will share in $45.4 million in grants announced today by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Md.

The four-year grants will provide major support for institutions seeking to strengthen their undergraduate education programs in the biomedical sciences.

For Centenary, the grant will total $600,000 and will mean:

  • renovation of laboratories and new equipment to serve a new biosciences core program, including biology, chemistry and biophysics,

  • start-up funding for a new faculty member in neurobiology,

  • a multi-year research program for undergraduates, beginning in the pre-freshman summer, at sites both on and off campus,

  • faculty development opportunities, and

  • a summer research program and travel to science meetings for high school students and teachers.

    Centenary President Kenneth L. Schwab said the Institute's grant under the Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program marks a high point in the college's 171-year history and is the largest science grant Centenary has ever received. "Such a significant investment in our Bioscience Education Initiative promises to elevate the educational opportunities for pre-college students, undergraduates and graduates throughout the Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas region," he said.

    "We are pleased to have been among a select group of institutions invited to apply to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Our selection offers testimony to Centenary's commitment to excellence in the liberal arts and sciences," Schwab said.

    The Institute invited applications from 201 public and private master's and baccalaureate colleges and universities, and schools of engineering and technology. Of those, 189 institutions submitted proposals, which were reviewed by an external panel of distinguished scientists and educators. The panel provided guidance to HHMI's trustees, who approved the grants.

    The 52 awardees are located in 24 states and include one other recipient in Louisiana, Xavier University. They include 45 institutions that have previously received grants from HHMI's Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program. "It is my fervent hope that this grant inaugurates an on-going relationship between Centenary College and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute," Schwab said.

    This year's grants bring to more than $335 million the amount awarded since 1988 through the undergraduate biological sciences program, the largest private initiative in U.S. history to enhance undergraduate science education at colleges and universities.

    The grant will enable Centenary to budget $280,800 over the next four years for the renovation of two laboratories and to purchase equipment, including computers and software, a PTI Modular Emission Spectrometer, digital oscilloscope, a Molecular Imaging System and a fluorescence microscope and accessories.

    Faculty will travel to training sites, including the University of Pennsylvania and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. In addition, a new faculty member will be added in neurobiology, with an emphasis on molecular neurobiology and neural imaging, to expand the disciplinary scope of the Biology Department in teaching and student research, and serve as a liaison to Louisiana State University Medical Center, which has targeted neurobiology as a research focus and sponsors off-campus research for college students.

    Programs that will promote student research and the broadening of access to science will also be offered via stipends to students for summer research, travel to regional scientific meetings and student research projects. High school students and teachers will be brought to Centenary as participants in three research components, the purpose being to enhance students' interest in careers in the biomedical sciences and to augment the teachers' knowledge of contemporary research in the field and teaching science through student research. Administration of the program will be the responsibility of Dr. A. Bradley McPherson, Warters Professor of Biology at Centenary, and his fellow grants team members Dr. Ernest Blakeney, Grayson Professor of Chemistry; Dr. Juan Rodriguez, associate professor of physics; and Dr. Andre Blanchard, Broyles Inaugural Year Research Professor.

    In making the announcement of grants today, HHMI President Purnell W. Choppin said, "These colleges and universities do an excellent job of preparing students for careers in scientific research, teaching, medicine and related fields. The grants will help them provide students with more opportunities to carry out research in modern laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment. Many of the campuses also will reach out to help science teachers and schools in their communities. Our goal is to get students of all ages, including women and minorities, involved in real scientific exploration instead of just memorizing facts from books."


    For further information, contact:
    Centenary News Service, Centenary College of Louisiana,
    2911 Centenary Boulevard, Shreveport, LA 71134-1188

    Email: Centenary News Service

    318-869-5120 or 869-5709
    Fax: 318-869-5026