The Last Word

A Community Of Giving

Dear friends,

Last spring, I attended the geography department's lively year-end celebration, Ralph Brown Day. John Adams--who is profiled in this issue on page 2--gave the Golden Shovel Award to a deserving graduate student "who was able to shovel the most..." The good-humored display of camaraderie that ensued told me that this is a great department--one that not only stands tall in international rankings but also knows how to have fun. It's that good cheer, perhaps--not to mention the sense of shared enterprise--that accounts for the genuine sense of community. That same evening, I met some students who talked about the exceptional education they are receiving in their Masters of Geographic Information Science program. They raved about the wonderful teaching and then launched into a deep discussion of the far-reaching implications of Google Earth ( It occurred to me that such a site wouldn't exist had it not been for the pathbreaking work of geographers such as John Borchert and John Adams.

One of the students, Sarah Dolan, received the Outstanding Senior Paper award, and several other students received scholarships and graduate fellowships. As I joined in the thunderous applause, I realized that this was the department's center of energy and the source of its strength--the all-important connection between professors and their students. These students and their peers will one day be responsible for how we live in and find our way through this century. They will shape the communities we inhabit. Their efforts will determine the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the larger ecosystems we are a part of. Their leadership will help ensure a healthy environment for a sustainable planet. I can't imagine a better investment than scholarships and fellowships for these emerging leaders. That's why I'm inviting you to join me in making an investment with both personal and global impact--a gift that will help students, and one that will help sustain and grow this esteemed department's contributions to the betterment of human communities.

If you wish to talk about giving opportunities, please be in touch. You may give to an existing fund, such as the Ralph H. Brown Fund, which provides funding for graduate and undergraduate research and study in geography; or you could establish a new fund (whose impact could be doubled if your gift qualifies for a match through the 21st Century Graduate Fellowship program or the Promise of Tomorrow Scholarship program). On behalf of the department, I thank you for your generosity. I look forward to hearing from you!

Mary Hicks, Director of External Relations
612-625-5541 or



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This page contains a single entry by cla published on July 23, 2008 12:07 PM.

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