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Walter Stutzman '71 Endows a Fund to Help Support Pomona's Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Walter Stutzman ’71 presented Pomona College with a $100,000 gift in April to endow the “Class of 1971 Summer Undergraduate Research Fund.” The fund will be used to support one student participant each summer in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP).

“When I was at Pomona, I was very interested in language and in computers,” says Stutzman, “The College gave me a great chance to be involved at the leading edge of computing in the ’60s through a summer research project. I went on to earn a Master’s degree in linguistics from Yale and began a 30-year career in software engineering. The research I did at Pomona was the impetus that led to my career, and I am grateful to the faculty who gave me that opportunity.”

Opportunities for undergraduate research are a hallmark of a Pomona College education. SURP provides participants with up to $4,000 in financial support for four to 10 weeks of extended, focused research on independent projects with substantive faculty mentoring or working directly for a professor as a summer research assistant.

“There is nothing quite like the excitement of doing original research,” says Pomona College President David Oxtoby, who is also an atmospheric chemist. “As in every field, extraordinary careers in the sciences do not just happen, they are cumulative, highly intentional, and, in many cases, they begin with summer undergraduate research.”

Stutzman, who named the award in honor of his classmates, their influence in his life and the positive impact they have had, says that summer research gives students a chance to “go out and explore an interest. You can sit in the classroom, but there comes a point where you have to figure out what grabs you, and what it is you want to do.”

After retiring as a software consultant, Stutzman returned to college, earning a degree in music from Southern Connecticut State University in 2009.