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Bigelows' Chair of Consciousness Studies Established at UNLV

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Apr 9, 1997  |  By UNLV Media Relations
Media Contact: Bill Wood - (702) 895-3641

A $3.7 million gift from Robert T. and Diane Bigelow will fund a new academic position in the College of Sciences at UNLV according to UNLV President Carol C. Harter. The Bigelow Chair of Consciousness Studies will initially be filled on an annual basis by distinguished visiting science scholars. The new position was recently advertised in several national academic and scientific publications.

"The students and faculty at UNLV are extremely fortunate that concerned citizens like Robert and Diane Bigelow take an active interest in the sciences and provide funds to bring the finest quality scholars here to teach," said UNLV Provost Douglas Ferraro. The new gift is a continuation of Bigelow family gifts in support of the Sciences and Health Sciences colleges at UNLV.

"We are very interested in seeing the disciplines of physics, biology, and chemistry - empirical scientific investigations into the natural laws of the universe - applied to the study of consciousness," explained Robert Bigelow, president of Bigelow Holding Company. "There is a lot of important research by clinical biochemists, neurobiologists and others who are trying to understand consciousness. Our goal is simply to help scientists unravel some of the mysteries of consciousness and ultimately benefit mankind."

According to Warren Burggren, dean of the UNLV College of Sciences, a very small percentage of colleges and universities offer similar programs. Those that do include Duke, the University of Kentucky, Northeastern, Virginia Tech, Carlton College, and Seton Hall. "Some very serious universities are engaged in the scientific study of consciousness, but not many. So the Bigelows have presented our students with a unique opportunity. It is definitely a prize for UNLV."

The Bigelow name is very familiar to students, faculty, and staff who work and learn in the Robert L. Bigelow Physics Building and the Rod Lee Bigelow Health Sciences Building. Robert T. Bigelow's deep interest in science and investment in scientific research at UNLV resulted in his selection by the Board of Regents as a Distinguished Nevadan in 1995. Thanks in part to the Bigelows' generosity, UNLV is gaining national recognition for academic excellence in the sciences, mathematics, and health sciences.

Robert and Diane Bigelow will be honored as new members of the UNLV Palladium Society during the UNLV Foundation annual dinner scheduled for April 11 at the Mirage. Other new Palladium honorees at this year's dinner will be William and Lynn Bennett, the Tracinda Corporation, and Bill and Susan Walters.