Quiet Generosity. Big Impact. Edith Kinney Gaylord's Two Foundations Invest in UCO
Cramped, uncomfortable and out of date.
That's how many students and faculty in UCO's College of Mathematics and Science felt about the lab space they were using.
"We were all really close together...about four or five at a table. We didn't have room for all of our lab materials, and we had to keep our text books in our laps while trying to take notes from the professor," said Elizabeth Oliver, a senior from Oklahoma City.
The College found room to grow thanks to a pair of grants from the Inasmuch Foundation - a $300,000 grant in 2005 and a $400,000 grant in 2006. A part of the College's "Investing in Excellence" campaign, the grants and subsequent matching funds have financed the renovation of three labs including the histotechnique lab, the zoology/animal biology lab and the zoology/botany prep room, with work still to do on six other labs.
"We hope our gift will encourage others to give," said Bob Ross, president and CEO of the Inasmuch Foundation.
Ross became aware of a great need for funding in UCO's College of Mathematics and Science after a conversation with his best friend's dad, Dr. Lee Beasley
Beasley, a UCO alumnus, serves as the honorary chair of the "Investing in Excellence" campaign. The goal is to raise the $1.2 million needed to complete nine unfinished labs in UCO's Laboratory Annex Building.
"He's been instrumental in the effort to complete these labs. He's doing a great job of rallying alumni and highlighting this need to the community," Ross said of Beasley.
Students and faculty believe the new labs have enhanced their education, allowing them to maximize their time and resources.
"We used to have to take 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning and end of our lab time to set up and clean up...which took up a lot of our teaching time," said Dr. Gloria Caudell.
"Now, we are ready to go within a couple of minutes. The students have room to spread out with their notes, material, textbook and microscopes on new, clean countertops. The technology and acoustics allow them to hear and see the information much easier."
Today, the students and faculty are comfortable, proud and grateful for the investment in their future.
"For those of us who are going on to medical school or to get Ph.D.s in research, we're learning how to work in a real lab with the best resources. I feel like I know how it's really supposed to work," added Elizabeth.
(Photo: Elizabeth Oliver, a senior biology major from Oklahoma City (far left) and her fellow student enjoy the new science labs financed by the Investing in Excellence campaign.)