Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: Joe King, Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-4299

April 28, 2005

NIU Foundation announces 2005 Venture Grant awards

DeKALB, Ill. -- From sensing earthquakes to promoting heavenly music, the 2005 Venture Grant awards will benefit a variety of endeavors at NIU.

The grants, which are made annually by the NIU Foundation, are intended to support faculty in their pursuit of excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the larger community. The funding is intended as an investment in the imagination, intellect and dedication of NIU's faculty and students.

The grants are awarded through a competitive application process, one that forces the NIU Foundation Board to make some difficult decisions. “There are so many excellent proposals, but funds are limited,” says Mallory M. Simpson, president of the NIU Foundation.

This year, five Venture Grants totaling $50,000 were distributed. The winning projects were:

  • Modernizing the NIU Seismic Station
    The Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences received $8,000 to purchase a new broadband seismometer with digital recording capability to replace the 20-year-old seismic station located in the lobby of Davis Hall. The new station will make data available online, benefiting the community and providing resources for schools, community colleges and other universities. It also will foster research collaboration between NIU and other institutions. The grant was awarded to Professor Philip Carpenter, who will involve geology students in the installation and testing of the new station.
  • Physics outreach programs
    The Department of Physics received $5,000 to bolster its Physics Olympics and Frontier Physics Road Show programs, which have exposed thousands of elementary and secondary school students across the region to physics. The programs are intended to enhance science education and encourage students to consider further study in the sciences. They include school visits, a Web site, a summer science camp and other activities. The grant was awarded to Distinguished Research Professor David Hedin and Physics Outreach Coordinator Patricia Sievert.
  • Assisting not-for-profit agencies
    NIU Business Outreach received a grant of $16,000 to provide students in the College of Business with opportunities to gain real-world experience while assisting not-for-profit agencies and community organizations with business-related challenges. The grant will allow the college to work with organizations that otherwise could not afford such assistance. The grant was presented to Jane Mall, director of Experiential Learning/Outreach in the College of Business.
  • Learning through exhibits
    The NIU Center for Burma Studies and the NIU Anthropology Museum both will benefit from a $5,000 grant that will allow them to better showcase the university's Southeast Asian collection through exhibits, workshops and interactive displays. A guest curator will lead a workshop for museum personnel and students from the NIU Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies Program, focusing on care and preservation of metal artifacts. The project is a collaborative effort between Catherine Raymond, director of the Center for Burma Studies, and Ann Wright-Parsons of the NIU Anthropology Museum.
  • Branding the Vermeer Quartet and NIU
    The College of Visual and Performing Arts received $16,000 to launch a campaign that will more closely identify the Vermeer Quartet with NIU. Arguably the most internationally recognized aspect of the university, the world-class string quartet has been in residence as regular faculty at NIU since 1970, but often the Vermeer is not perceived as being connected with the university. The grant, sponsored by Dean Harold Kafer, will expand the current marketing profile of the Vermeer Quartet series at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago in an effort to change that perception.

Proposals will be sought again in January of 2006. For additional information concerning the NIU Foundation's Venture Grant program, visit .