Luce Foundation Supports Women Studying Science at Siena

HNP Communications Features

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – The Clare Boothe Luce Program, conducted by the Henry Luce Foundation, has granted Siena College an award totaling $268,714 for undergraduate scholarships to women studying in the college’s School of Science.

Siena was one of only 21 colleges and universities in the U.S. invited to apply for a grant from the Clare Boothe Luce Program this year. The program is the largest source of private support for women studying science, engineering and mathematics.

“This Luce award is truly an honor for Siena College, and a testament to the hard work of people in our School of Science,” said Kevin Mackin, president of Siena. “It will be a great help to our qualified students.”

Siena College’s mix of students is approximately 57% women and 43% men. Women have proven their excellence in the School of Science, with the number of women slightly exceeding the number of men graduated in the past five years (292 female students out of 566), and with an average GPA of 3.24 (compared to 3.1 GPA for males).

Organizations such as the National Science Foundation have reported that women are significantly under-represented in the physical sciences and mathematics.

“We look forward to furthering Siena College’s role in encouraging women to have careers in science,” notes Dr. Larry Medsker, dean of Siena’s School of Science.

Clare Boothe Luce, the widow of Time Inc. co-founder and editor-in-chief Henry Luce, was a playwright, journalist, U.S. ambassador to Italy, and the first woman elected to Congress from Connecticut. She realized that many women face obstacles in their chosen professions. In her bequest, she sought “to encourage women to enter, study, graduate, and teach” sciences and mathematics. Mrs. Luce was also committed to Catholic education. Her bequest required that more than half of the program’s grants go to Roman Catholic colleges and universities.

A participating school must evidence academic strength as well as a commitment to increasing the success of women in areas of physical science.

The Luce grant of $268,714 will go a long way toward supporting excellent education for Siena College students majoring in biochemistry, chemistry, mathematics, physics, computer science or computational science. Siena has formed a selection committee made up of School of Science faculty who will interview candidates this fall.

A student receiving a scholarship, in addition to meeting high academic standards, will present a convincing case that she intends to have a career in science and be able to give specifics about goals and interests that show she has a commitment to a field of science.

Siena’s newest additions for academic excellence include the Hickey Financial Technology Center, Morrell Science Center, Center for the Study of Government and Politics, Broadcast studies, and a cutting-edge program in atmospheric and space studies.