SOURCE: Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine

December 09, 2014 11:00 ET

Concordia University Awarded Keck Foundation Grant for Astronomy Research and Observatory Facilities

IRVINE, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 9, 2014) - Concordia University Irvine (CUI) was awarded a $250,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to build and upgrade astronomical observatory facilities. The grant will promote advanced astronomy research, integrate astronomy into CUI's science curriculum, and facilitate outreach to K-12 students.

"We are very pleased to receive funding from the Keck Foundation. It allows us to build a new state-of-the-art astronomical observatory on Concordia's campus and upgrade the Manzanita Observatory near San Diego," said Dr. John Kenney, Chair of the Departments of Chemistry and Physics/Astronomy at CUI. "The funds will enhance CUI's science curriculum, encourage new teaching and research opportunities, and help us reach out to students in our community and nationwide to motivate budding scientists."

The Keck Center for Astronomy, a new multi-telescope astronomical observatory is planned for the campus, as well as an upgrade to the 1.2 meter, 48-inch research telescope at the Manzanita Observatory, operated by the Tierra Astronomical Institute. The control and operating systems for the two observatories will be the same, which will allow students to be trained to use technology interchangeably at both facilities.

"The Keck Foundation grant enables us to actively involve students in astronomical research and spark their interest in this field of science, with the hope of inspiring them to become the next generation of scientists and engineers," said Mike Hoffert, president of the Tierra Astronomical Institute.

These technological upgrades will be conducive to more advanced undergraduate research. The grant also enables CUI to fulfill its commitment to work with at-risk and high-performing K-12 students and expose them to various astronomy programs. New programs will be developed for CUI students and faculty to visit K-12 schools and community organizations to invite students, parents and teachers to CUI for special programs, including a day-time astronomical series emphasizing solar astronomy and spectroscopy.

The grant will also fund a partnership between CUI and a pilot group of schools, two schools in Florida and three in California, to do web-driven, remote-access astronomy lessons. Students and their teachers will be able to access the Concordia campus observatory remotely, point the telescope from 20-2,000 miles away, and share telescope images on their classroom computers.

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About the W.M. Keck Foundation

The W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 in Los Angeles by William Myron Keck, founder of The Superior Oil Company. Mr. Keck envisioned an institution that invests in people and programs that are making a difference in the quality of life, now and for the future. In recent years, the Keck Foundation has focused on providing grants in the areas of science and engineering research, medical research, undergraduate education and a Southern California Grant Program that provides support in the areas of health care, civic and community services, education and the arts, with a special emphasis on children. For more information, visit the Keck Foundation website at

About Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine prepares students for their vocations -- their calling in life. CUI offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and adult degree programs in a beautiful Southern California location, with online and regional cohort options. Concordia's undergraduate program is distinctive among universities in California because of its nationally recognized Core Curriculum, and its Lutheran heritage that provides a thoughtful and caring Christian community that lives out the theology of "Grace Alone. Faith Alone."

Concordia is a U.S.News Top Tier Regional University and has been named by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the fastest growing private nonprofit master's institutions. CUI enrolls over 4,000 students.

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