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$20 Million Gift Targets Women in S&E

November 10, 2000

The majority of an anonymous gift of $26.5 million to the University of Southern California (USC) will be used to increase the representation of women in the hard sciences and engineering faculty and encourage middle school girls to choose a science pathway in education. Money also will be used to create new faculty positions in the sciences, upgrade laboratories, increase scholarship aid for undergraduates, create new fellowships for graduates and fund child care.

The USC program favors a long-term approach to redressing the gender imbalance in the sciences and engineering faculty. USC will use most of the $20 million of the gift apportioned to the issue as an endowment, applying its investment income toward hiring women faculty and providing enduring support for faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students. A networking group composed of USC’s female scientists has advised the university on the establishment of the program, called WISE, for Women in Science and Engineering.

USC expects the program to initiate more competition among elite institutions of higher education to train, attract and keep highly qualified women faculty members in the sciences and engineering.

The balance of the gift, a total of $6.5 million dollars will be used for capital improvements in the USC School of Social Work, including the completion of a new research wing.