Spectrum Magazine
The Alumni Magazine of Florida State University's College of Arts and Sciences
Winter 2022
| Wed, 02/16/22
Cheyenne Tempest. Courtesy photo.

Gifting Greatness

Donors enhance available opportunities, research conducted in the Florida State University College of Arts and Sciences

By McKenzie Harris

For Department of Classics alumna Cheyenne Tempest, conducting research abroad seemed like an impossible dream. Thanks to gifts from generous Florida State University College of Arts and Sciences donors, Tempest has excavated at archaeological sites in Italy as well as designed and mounted museum-level exhibitions in one of the world’s most culturally rich cities.

“This funding allowed me to put years of education into practice and achieve a lifelong dream and goal: I got to be an archaeologist,” Tempest said. “The experience I gained at Cetamura greatly prepared me for my work in archaeology and, without this gift, my participation wouldn’t have been possible.”

Donor support of the college can help students achieve scholastic and career goals. Through the Bucher-Loewenstein scholarship, now the Bucher-Loewenstein Museum Internship Award, Tempest learned invaluable lessons from her experience excavating at the Cetamura del Chianti research site in Italy. The award is made possible through contributions by Suzanne Bucher in honor of her late husband, Bob Loewenstein.

This funding allowed me to put years of education into practice and achieve a lifelong dream and goal: I got to be an archaeologist. The experience I gained at Cetamura greatly prepared me for my work in archaeology and, without this gift, my participation wouldn’t have been possible.

— Cheyenne Tempest

“These funds make a significant difference for undergrads, graduate students and faculty,” said Nancy Smilowitz, College of Arts and Sciences assistant dean of advancement and alumni affairs. “Graduate students are provided support that allows them to focus their time on research instead of working outside jobs, and undergraduates have more research opportunities such as working in a professor’s lab over the summer.

“When alumni visit campus, many comment on their relationships with faculty mentors as well as the financial aid they received through scholarships and say they wouldn’t be where they are today without the support from faculty and scholarships,” she continued.

Nina Perdomo. Courtesy photo.

Such gifts, managed through the FSU Foundation, include those made through annual giving, estate gifts, endowments, gifts of stock, planned gifts, and major gifts. Alongside legislative funding, this private support is essential to ensuring Arts and Sciences faculty and programs have the resources they need.

Giving Back

Alumni and faculty members who make gifts, Smilowitz said, are a testament to the importance of support given to the college. The Rodney Reeves Ph.D. Scholarship Award in Classics was established by Rodney Reeves, an FSU alumnus and former FSU College of Medicine and College of Education researcher now on a courtesy appointment with the Department of Classics. The award, similar to the Bucher-Loewenstein Museum Internship Award, allows classics students majoring in classical archaeology to attend FSU’s Florence Program in Italy for five weeks. The $7,000 scholarship gives students the opportunity to assist in the creation and presentation of museum exhibitions on archaeology and art.

“I always dreamed of studying abroad in Italy, but the financial aspect of it was always a barrier,” said Nina Perdomo, a recipient of the Reeves scholarship. “I’m incredibly grateful, and I know this will be an experience I will look back on during my future career.”

Jack Winchester, a former professor emeritus in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science who spent 33 years at FSU, gave much of his time as well as major gifts.

In addition to establishing the John and Ellen Winchester Fund, Winchester facilitated the establishment of the Smartflower solar flower, a ground-mounted solar energy system with solar panel “petals” and a tracker that follows the sun and generates electricity, as part of the recently completed EOAS building.

The Smartflower solar flower installed at the Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science building. Courtesy photo.

Upon his death, Winchester’s daughter, Kathleen Sullivan, established an endowment in her parents’ names through a gifts of estate: his Tallahassee residence and coastal property in Carrabelle, Fla., valued at $340,000.

EOAS alumnus Mark Powell is an atmospheric scientist and vice president of model development at Risk Management Solutions-Moody’s, the global leader in climate and natural disaster risk modeling and analytics for the insurance and financial sectors. Powell, a former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist whose research focused on hurricanes, is giving $200,000 to establish the Mark D. Powell Weather Observatory to invest in the critical climate research conducted in EOAS.

I was a student in the Department of Meteorology back in the 1970s. The skills I learned prepared me for successful careers in science, and I hope my sponsorship will provide resources to maintain the observatory as a state-of-the-art facility, one of the most advanced in the U.S.

— Mark Powell, EOAS alumnus

“I was a student in the Department of Meteorology back in the 1970s. The skills I learned prepared me for successful careers in science, and I hope my sponsorship will provide resources to maintain the observatory as a state-of-the-art facility, one of the most advanced in the U.S.” Powell said. “It’s a gathering place for students and faculty to observe, appreciate and discuss weather and forecasting, and the sponsorship will also help facilitate exchanges between scientists at FSU and at NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division in Miami, advancing our understanding of tropical cyclones.”

Annual gifts are also important. Physics alumnus Price Kagey transferred $750 in stock to the Physics General Fund in honor of late professor of physics Mael A. Melvin to support innovative physics students.

Looking Forward

In some cases, gifts are made by friends of the university with no ties to FSU other than wanting to contribute to an excellent research institution. The Tatelbaum Ocean Research Fund, established by consultant Joe Tatelbaum, is a $300,000 gift to be used over three years by ecologist and assistant professor in the Department of Biological Science Sophie McCoy in important marine research.

“Mr. Tatelbaum’s motivation was to enable discovery and innovation, and innovation happens when you’re able to be flexible,” McCoy said. “He didn’t want to tie the funds to any specific project; instead, it’s for marine research. Gifts like these are essential catalysts for new scientific projects.”

Journalist Bob Hosmon plans to gift the Department of English a collection of literature, art books, and more from England’s Victorian period, worth $40,000. He will provide an additional $100,000 to properly display, maintain, and store the collection through his estate gift.

“I wanted to offer this collection to a university that would use it well. Given [Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor] Gary Taylor’s work on this era, I knew FSU would do the best with it. I hope the collection will help students explore more of England’s history, literature and art,” Hosmon said. “Hopefully, it helps them learn from their history while looking to the future.”

Honoring History

Gifts are also made to honor the outstanding contributions of alumni and faculty. In tribute to fallen 2nd Lt. Justin Sisson, an Army ROTC graduate who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2013, the FSU Military Science Program hosts the annual Justin Sisson Run/Walk for the Fallen to benefit the Justin Sisson Outstanding Cadet Scholarship. The scholarship helps FSU ROTC cadets and student veterans, who embody Sisson’s commitment to family, country, and duty, complete their education.

The Dr. Jean Victoria Marani Endowed Scholarship was established by an anonymous donor and funds undergraduates in the Department of History who plan to pursue history education. After graduating from Florida State College for Women in 1946, Marani earned educational accolades, including Florida’s Teacher of the Year award in 1962, and was a finalist for National Teacher of the Year.

Mart Hill, a 1942 Florida State College for Women graduate and member of the College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Council, recently gave $10,000 to the David Kirby Graduate Fellowship within Creative Writing designed to support aspiring poets enrolled in FSU’s renowned creative writing program. Hill has made gifts to FSU every year for over 40 years. Kirby, a Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor in the Department of English, has established a legacy at FSU over the past 50 years.

“Our deep appreciation of gifts, big or small, is matched by their high impact on the education and research opportunities provided to our students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty,” said Sam Huckaba, the college’s dean. “Giving to an area of your choice speaks to your interests and passions, while providing a meaningful way to make a lasting difference.”

Consider making a gift to departments and programs in the College of Arts and Sciences by visiting the Ways to Give page on our website, or by contacting Nancy Smilowitz, assistant dean of advancement and alumni affairs, at nsmilowitz@fsu.edu.

FSU students, ROTC cadets, and members of the community participate the 2020 Justin Sisson Run/Walk for the Fallen. Photo by Tom Morgan.