Focus on the Future

The changes that the Department and the University have undergone over the last 30 years have been dramatic, though not always obvious to those outside the academic environment. Within the Department, research labs have been added and expanded while familiar lecture halls like 1001 and 2074 Malott have been gradually upgraded to handle state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. The Department has seen a complete turnover in faculty from the early 80's, with the number of women increasing from 0 to 4, coupled to a steady rise in external funding and research interests ranging from astrobiology to nanotechnology to quantum theory.

Unfortunately, what has also risen at an alarming pace for our students is the cost of obtaining a degree at either the undergraduate or the graduate level, a product of the declining level of financial support from the State of Kansas, which now covers ~22% of the University budget, half of what it covered 30 years ago. Coupled with the ongoing decline in federal funding due to sequestration and budgetary conflicts, our ability to provide research support for deserving students and to maintain and upgrade our research and teaching labs at all levels has been severely compromised. Listed below are the endowed funds that have been created over the years, with an encouraging growth in the number in the last decade. The highest priorities for the Department are those Funds that supply unrestricted support to the entire Department (Physics and Astronomy Development Fund), to graduate students (Lowry Fund, Redeker Fund), and to research support and facilities (Nanofabrication Fund, MLO Telescope Fund, Tombaugh Fund, Zeller Fund). With the change in University policy for undergraduate scholarships, i.e. distribution of scholarships based upon academic record at the time of admission, our self-selected majors in Physics, Astronomy, and Engineering Physics are at a significant advantage compared to previous years when only a handful of department scholarships were available. However, the departmemt endowed funds for undergraduate support still serve an important need and their expansion remains a priority. (In the list below, funds for undergraduates are designated with this color, while funds exclusively supporting graduate students are noted by this color. Research support and instrumentation funds are designated by this color.

If an area suits your interests, you can donate directly and safely to the specific fund by using the appropriate link below. The current list of endowed funds accessible to the Department is:

Department Developmental Fund

Engineering Physics Fund

Undergraduate Scholars Fund

Redeker Graduate Fellowship Fund

Badgley Scholarship Fund

MLO 1.25 Meter Telescope Partnership

Lowry Graduate Enhancement Fund

Nanofabrication Lab Fund

Prosser Scholarship Fund

Harriett Johnson Scholarship Fund

Stranathan Scholarship Fund

Tombaugh Student Research Fund

Zeller Fund for Instrumentation

history of universe

Departmental Development Fund

This Fund provides unrestricted funds to support any need of the Department, including travel costs for invited speakers, student expenses for research and conferences, publication of the annual  newsletter, Momentum, etc.

Elizabeth Callen

Badgley Fund

Financial support for a a female undergraduate majoring in any program within the Department. (Pictured at left is Elisabeth Callen, first recipient of the Badgely Scholarship). Past recipients can be found at this link.

SC Ring

Engineering Physics Fund

This fund is established to provide financial support and academic resources (tuition, research support, travel expenses, etc.) for students majoring in Engineering Physics.

Galaxy Image

Harriett Johnson Fund

Financial support for an incoming freshman majoring in Astronomy within the Department.

John Lowry

John Lowry Fund

Financial support for an exceptional graduate student within the Department. Student must be a US citizen.


MLO 1.25 Meter Telescope Partnership

Funds to overhaul and upgrade the Mt. Laguna Observatory, remote-access 1.25 meter telescope instrumentation, in partnership with San Diego State University. All donations will be matched dollar for dollar by the CLAS. A PDF brochure with details is accessible here. Signed (by Clyde Tombaugh) copies of Clyde Tombaugh's biography will be provided for any donation above $500 - only a limited number are available. As of late 2014, total funds raised are at ~$105,000.

Nano simulation

Nanofabrication Lab Fund

Financial support for a graduate student working within Condensed Matter/Nano Physics and support for the Nanofabrication Lab.

Frank Prosser Fund

Financial support for an outstanding junior in Physics or Engineering Physics. Past recipients can be found at this link.

physics logo

Redeker Graduate Fellowship Fund

Financial support for a graduate student working toward a PhD within the Department of Physics and Astronomy.


Stranathan Fund

Financial support for an outstanding senior Physics or Engineering Physics major. Past recipients can be found at this link.

Clyde Tombaugh

Clyde W. Tombaugh Student Research Fund

Research support for students majoring in Astronomy and support for observatory access and maintenance for the Astronomy program. Past recipients can be found at this link.Signed (by Clyde Tombaugh) copies of Clyde Tombaugh's biography will be provided for any donation above $500 - only a limited number are available.

Undergrad Scholars

Undergraduate Scholars Fund

Financial support for an incoming freshman in any major within the Department

Ed Zeller

Zeller Fund for Instrumentation

Support for the purchase of instrumentation for research or lab use.

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