Energizing GiftsGAMBIER, Ohio (November 29, 2005) Rising oil and gas prices, the energy demands of a booming Chinese economy, global warming, the American love affair with SUVs--trends of recent years have given greater urgency to the argument that the world must reduce its reliance on petroleum. That goal not only entails difficult research challenges but also raises issues in areas ranging from politics to morality. Thanks to generous gifts from the Edgerton Foundation, the Kenyon community will be able to explore more deeply issues relating to the future of fossil fuels and the idea of sustainable energy sources.
The foundation will fund two programs at the College. A $125,000 endowment will support an annual campus visit by an expert on these issues--the Edgerton Lectureship on Energy and the Environment. In addition, the foundation is committing $5,000 a year for an Edgerton Student Fellowship on Energy and the Environment. The funds will cover a stipend along with research expenses for a student researcher every summer. Like the visiting expert, the student may focus on either science or policy matters, or the connections linking them.
The lecture and the fellowship may address topics such as the continued availability of fossil fuels, the controversy surrounding the notion of "peak oil," the role of fossil fuels in global climate change, and the viability of alternatives like solar energy, biofuels, wind power, geothermal energy, and hydroelectric energy. The foundation is interested in the role that Ohio, as a coal-belt state, may be able to play in promoting new technologies or policies for producing or using energy, and in dealing with global warming constructively.
While the fellowship will involve scientific research, the lectureship may range across disciplines, from biology, chemistry, and physics to economics and political science. "Several new courses and programs at Kenyon explore the environmental impact of energy use in realms ranging from fuels to food," notes Scott Cummings, associate professor of chemistry and coordinator of the Edgerton grants. "The Edgerton Lectureship will allow us to explore these important issues with a campuswide audience."
Based in Beverly Hills, California, the Edgerton Foundation contributes to a select group of organizations in keeping with the longstanding interest of its officers, Kenyon parents Bradford and Louise Edgerton, in reassessing the world's dependence on fossil fuels and finding sustainable sources of energy.