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For Immediate Release
February 12, 2010

Secret admirers shower TCNJ science programs with gifts


EWING, NJ … This Valentine’s Day, science programs at The College of New Jersey are receiving quite a bit of love and devotion.

Two anonymous donors have committed more than half a million dollars to show their support of the Chemistry and Biology programs at the College.

An anonymous bequest of $500,000 will create an endowment that will benefit the Department of Chemistry by way of providing funding for student scholarships in the area of organic chemistry and a possible fellowship program for faculty to engage students in undergraduate research. This unsolicited and generous gift recognizes the outstanding quality of TCNJ’s chemistry program. In particular, the donor wanted to recognize and continue to enhance the Chemistry Department’s exemplary record of success, including a 100 percent placement rate of its graduates into graduate and professional schools and the workforce; the more than 70 percent of undergraduates that are involved in research each year; and the overall dedication and hard work of chemistry students and faculty members at TCNJ.

In addition to the chemistry gift, Tracy Kress, a first-year faculty member in the Department of Biology, received $10,000 from an anonymous donor to support her research. Her work involves a combination of genetic, molecular cell biology, and biochemical approaches that use yeast as a model organism to understand how the various cells in an organism regulate gene expression to adapt to different environments or situations. The molecules involved in the particular aspect of gene expression Kress studies are so similar between yeast and humans that information learned from studying yeast can be applied directly to further our understanding of gene expression in humans.

Kress, who currently has three undergraduate students collaborating with her on this research, said that the gift would help her both now and later. “An immediate impact of this gift is that I can purchase equipment and biological reagents that are critical for the students to carry out this work throughout the academic semester and the summer,” said Kress. “A more critical and long-term impact is that the data collected from these initial studies will serve as a foundation for me to base my future work and will allow me to apply for federal funding.”

Jeffrey M. Osborn, Dean of the School of Science, was thrilled with the news of the gifts. “The fact that donors both recognize and choose to financially support the science programs at the College truly speaks volumes about the quality and capacity of all of our programs at TCNJ. Gifts like these will have both an immediate and long-term impact and will help guide our programs to an even higher level of distinction and excellence.” said Osborn.