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Ohio University Foundation announces Baker Fund Awards

ATHENS, Ohio (May 25, 2004) -- The Ohio University Foundation has awarded $60,945 from the John C. Baker Fund to support the research, scholarship and creative activity of seven faculty members. Projects receiving awards during the 2004 funding cycle range from shedding light on how stream erosion is achieved on resistant bedrock to producing a documentary on the successes and challenges of the Passion Works Studio in Athens, Ohio.

The John C. Baker Fund was endowed in 1961 by a generous gift of more than $612,000 from Edwin L. Kennedy, a 1926 College of Arts and Sciences graduate, and his wife, Ruth, a 1930 graduate of the College of Education. The Kennedys were extraordinary philanthropists who, all told, contributed more than $10.5 million – including a significant collection of Southwest Native American artwork – to Ohio University. The John C. Baker Fund was created and named in honor of Ohio University's 14th president.

"More than anything else, John Baker stands for quality. His period of service can be described as a constant search for ways to attain advancing standards of excellence," wrote Edwin Kennedy in 1961. "It is fitting, therefore, that a fund whose purpose is to seek these same objectives should be named in his honor."

During its 43 years, the John C. Baker Fund has supported the Kennedy Lecture Series, the Distinguished Professor Awards and the Baker Fund Awards. Today, the endowment that supports the fund has a market value of more than $1.5 million.

"The Baker Fund is an excellent example of the difference that endowment dollars make in the life of Ohio University," said Executive Director of the Ohio University Foundation Leonard Raley. "Over time, these endowments grow and have a greater impact on the university, its faculty and its students than the donor ever imagined possible."

Each year, the Baker Fund Awards Committee (BAC) – through the Office of the Vice President for Research – invites proposals for support of research, scholarship and creative activity at Ohio University. The scholarly, technical or artistic merit of proposed projects is the primary criterion for evaluation. This year, 21 proposals were submitted.

"This year we had a large number of high quality applications from across the campus. Unfortunately, our budget was smaller," said Baker Fund Awards Committee Chair Roger Shelor, a professor of finance in the College of Business. "This made the award process difficult and we were unable to fund several good projects. We are confident that those that were funded will reflect well on the intellectual contributions of Ohio University."

The Baker Fund recipients for 2004 are:

  • Project: "Passion Works: A Story of Flying"
    Recipient: Blis Hanousek DeVault, School of Telecommunications
    Amount: $12,000

  • Project: "Liberia: Lone Star Rising"
    Recipient: Steven Ross, School of Film
    Amount: $11,985

  • Project: "A Reverse Genetics Approach to Functional Identification of Arabinogalactan-Proteins in Arabidopsis"
    Recipient: Allan Showalter, Department of Environmental & Plant Biology
    Amount: $10,500

  • Project: "The Theatrical Iconography of the Comici Artigiani: Strascin's Lamento and Parodic Self-imaging in Early Cinquecento Woodcuts"
    Recipient: Paul C. Castagno, School of Theater
    Amount
    : $9,000

  • Project: "Function of the 6-Methyladenine Messenger RNA Methyltransferase"
    Recipient: Martin T. Tuck, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
    Amount: $7,300

  • Project: "Empirical and Theoretical Determinations in Relations Between Potholes and Selected Stream Variables"
    Recipient: Gregory Scott Springer, Department of Geological Sciences
    Amount: $7,065.25

  • Project: "A Successful 'Social Experiment': The Role of Public Relations in the Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933 – 1937"
    Recipient: Diana Knott, E. W. Scripps School of Journalism
    Amount: $3,095

Faculty and staff interested in applying for the 2005 award cycle should visit www.ohiou.edu/research/baker.html for more information.

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Media Contact: Director of Development Communication Jennifer Bowie, (740) 597-2987 or bowiej@ohio.edu

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