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Anonymous donation leads to creation of new fund for scholarly research

An anonymous donor has awarded Lawrence University a million dollars to establish the Richard and Margot Warch Fund for Scholarly Research. The grant is meant to provide support for faculty research projects in order to enhance ongoing programs of research and scholarship.

The fund honors Richard Warch and his wife, Margot. Richard Warch was the dean of the faculty and the 14th president of Lawrence University. He is known as having served for the second longest amount of time, that time being from 1979 to 2004. Samuel Plantz is the only president to have served for a longer amount of time, with 30 years from 1894 to 1924. Warch passed away on September 14, 2013 at the age of 74.

Warch had written extensively on the subject of higher education and the issues that face institutions such as Lawrence. This includes a book entitled “A matter of Style: Reflections on Liberal Education,” published in 2011 and made available to the public in 2012. During his time at Lawrence, he focused greatly on improving the academic reputation of Lawrence as well as maintaining the liberal arts tradition of the university. He emphasized removing any separation between Conservatory students and college students.

Specific ways that this fund might be used are to facilitate travel, purchase research materials and support student research. The projects funded could be in a vast array of fields.

The funds will be administered through the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty, David Burrows. Interested faculty will apply to this office. They will be available beginning in September for the 2014-2015 academic year.

In reference to the new grant, Burrows said, “We are very grateful for the fund. One of the strengths of a Lawrence education is that students are taught by faculty who are active in their disciplines. This enables them to be up-to-date on the latest developments in their field and to provide models for students on how to learn and improve our understanding of the world.”

It is the job of the Provost to oversee all academic programs including the hiring and evaluation of faculty, the distribution of travel funds, research funds and curricular development funds. He is the chief academic officer of Lawrence University.

Other funds used to support faculty scholarship include the Excellence in Science Fund, the Excellence in Humanities fund and the Hill fund, as well as the general operating budget for faculty support.

At Lawrence, grants generally fall into the two categories of Project Grants and Travel Grants. While Travel Grants allow faculty to travel to conferences, meetings and research centers, Project Grants generally fund research materials, scholarship, workshops, curricular development and other activities. The Richard and Margot Warch fund will fund both of these types.