STEM education at Louisiana Tech University will benefit from two generous gifts matched by funding from the University of Louisiana System to establish endowed professorships to assist in the preparation of future science, technology, engineering, and mathematics educators.
Bill, ’77, and Mary Anne, ’77, Waldrip, of San Antonio, Texas, established the University of Louisiana System Foundation and Linda Woodard Hensley and Dorothy Woodard Patterson Endowed Professorship in STEM Education in the College of Education through gifts from the Waldrip Family Foundation and the University of Louisiana System Foundation.
A separate anonymous gift to the College of Engineering and Science (COES) will endow a professorship in memory of 1951 Tech graduate Charles G. Tullis, who was named the 2008 Distinguished Alumnus in Mechanical Engineering, the 2010 COES Alumnus of the Year, and a 2015 Tower Medallion recipient. Both matches are pending approval of matching funds from the University of Louisiana System Foundation.
”It is our hope that future Tech students will receive the benefits of the educational background that Mary Anne and I have enjoyed from our experiences and studies there,” said Bill. “We are hopeful that the combination of engineering, scientific, and educational learning will mold future generations of Tech students to further explore new methods of learning that can open minds to unleash the creativity that is needed for the leaders of tomorrow.”
The funds are designed to enhance STEM educational programming in both colleges. Dr. Laura Bostick, UTechTech’s Associate Director and Assistant Professor in the College of Education, will be the recipient of that College’s endowed professorship. She plans to integrate accessibility materials and instruction into the College’s STEM teacher preparation program so graduates of the program will have the training and experience needed to foster a routine of building accessibility into the lessons they teach, bridging the gap in STEM learning for students with disabilities.
“We are grateful to the Waldrips and the University of Louisiana System Foundation for their investment in STEM education through this professorship,” said Dr. Don Schillinger, Dean of the College of Education. “Dr. Bostick looks forward to utilizing these funds to make STEM learning accessible to all. Her previous experience as a NASA biomedical engineer combined with her teaching certification in special education and teaching students with visual impairments make her the ideal recipient of this professorship.”
Both the College of Education and College of Engineering and Science work with STEM teacher preparation through UTeachTech, the University’s pathway to train STEM majors to teach secondary math and science.
“Charles Tullis’ life was marked by hard work, generosity, and loyalty to Louisiana Tech and the College of Engineering and Science,” said Dr. Hisham Hegab, COES Dean. “We are grateful to the friend of the University for making such a generous gift in Charles’ honor and to the UL System Foundation for their investment in STEM education.”