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July 5, 2000

Calvin Given $700,000 HHMI Award

Calvin College is one of 53 colleges and universities across the country to receive a prestigious award to boost undergraduate biological sciences education. It will receive $700,000 from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and is one of just two schools in the state of Michigan to earn an award, joining fellow MIAA member Kalamazoo College as state honorees.

But Calvin's $700,000 award will not just benefit the college. The Grand Rapids Public Schools also will be a beneficiary of the grant. Plans for the money include a significant partnership between Calvin and the GRPS K-5 schools. Calvin plans to develop lesson plans in biology that can be presented by Calvin science education students in GRPS classrooms. The lesson plan and all associated materials (things such as seed kits, chemicals and more) then will be donated to the school for use in subsequent years.

In addition the $700,000 grant also will support more Calvin student research projects and student summer internships with local biological industries. Calvin, which recently introduced a new biotechnology major, hopes to develop 20-25 summer internships for its students with local companies. In fact, included in the Calvin grant application were several letters from local companies which support and recognize the strength of Calvin's student researchers.

Finally the grant will support faculty development and curriculum, equipment and laboratory development. The HHMI awards support education programs that reflect the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of science and research, the central role that computers will play in post-genomic biology and the growing need for biology majors to consider careers other than research, such as teaching science at the elementary or high school level.

"As president of Calvin I fully support the grant proposal," said Calvin president Dr. Gaylen Byker. "The educational, medical and corporate partnerships that this grant will allow us to develop will deepen and enrich the educational opportunities of our students and allow the college to make major contributions to the community."

HHMI invited 224 colleges and universities to submit proposals. An external panel of distinguished scientists and educators reviewed the 204 proposals received and selected just 53.

The Institute is a nonprofit medical research organization that employs hundreds of leading biomedical scientists working at the forefront of their fields. In addition, through its grants program and other activities, HHMI is helping to enhance science education at all levels and maintain the vigor of biomedical science worldwide. The Institute is one of the world's largest philanthropies, with laboratories across the United States and grants programs throughout the world. Its headquarters and conference center are located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, near Washington, D.C. HHMI's endowment in mid-2000 was approximately $13 billion.

The Institute's grants program, the largest privately funded education initiative in U.S. history, is helping to enhance science education for students at all levels, from the earliest grades through advanced training. The Institute has awarded more than $850 million in grants since 1988. The grants are helping to strengthen science education and encourage talented young people to pursue research and teaching careers. The grants program also supports research resources in medical schools and other institutions within the United States, and the research of outstanding biomedical scientists in selected countries elsewhere.

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Contact Phil de Haan.