Central College announced Tej and Karen Dhawan, both 1991 graduates of the college, have established the Franks-Mahmood Fund for Undergraduate Research. The news was shared at a faculty endowed chairs’ conference dinner on campus Sept. 20.
The endowed fund will support teams of faculty and students and their research at international or domestic sites. The lead gift today will be available to fund research immediately and is with intentions to build the endowment over time.
“Even in an undergraduate, liberal arts institution, the focus on research is important,” says Tej Dhawan, who’s served as a member of the college’s board of trustees since 2002 and is the current chair.
“Both Karen and I benefitted from research opportunities,” Dhawan adds. “You gain so much with collaboration and the individual attention you get with faculty and students working together. It made a meaningful difference in our personal and professional lives.”
The fund is named after Dr. Robert Franks, professor of computer science, and Dr. Cynthia Mahmood, Frank Moore Chair of Anthropology and professor of anthropology. Dhawan called both “deep thinkers.”
Dhawan expects faculty to set the direction of research projects this fund supports.
“Research should be exploratory, inquisitive and broad,” he says.
Undergraduate research is a significant institutional priority and was one of five key areas identified in the “Strategic Framework for Academic Planning at Central College.” It emphasizes intellectual and social engagement among students and faculty.
Pictured above: Robert Franks, left, and Cynthia Mahmood, right, are joined by Tej and Karen Dhawan after it was announced the Dhawans established the Franks-Mahmood Fund for Undergraduate Research. The news was shared at a faculty endowed chairs’ conference dinner on campus Sept. 20.