TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — The second floor of Indiana State University’s Science Building will be named after the late Dr. William “Bill” Brett, who served the institution for 57 years as a faculty member in Science and as an emeritus professor.
The Board of Trustees approved the measure Friday, consistent with university policy, in acknowledgement of a significant gift from Dr. Brett’s wife, Mrs. Judith L. Brett.
“Bill was proud of ISU and talked it up wherever we went,” Judith Brett said. “Loving students and science, he would approve of my choice to endow the SURE program to support undergraduate research. As his wife, I am gratified that his name will continue to be spoken.”
The gift is in support of Dr. Brett’s passions, research and teaching at the undergraduate level. The endowment will support the Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE) program, which will be housed in the Dr. William “Bill” Brett Center for Science Research.
“We are proud to honor the legacy of Dr. Brett with the naming of the Dr. William “Bill” Brett Center for Science Research,” Andrea Angel, Vice President for University Advancement and CEO of the ISU Foundation said. “His dedication to his students and the advancement of the sciences helped lay groundwork for the fantastic undergraduate research experiences Indiana State offers today. We are grateful Judy has established this endowment to specifically provide undergraduate research experiences for future generations of Sycamores.”
Dr. Brett served as chairperson of the Life Sciences Department for 15 years. He was a recipient of the Caleb Mills Teaching Award and the first recipient of ISU’s President’s Medal.
He earned his bachelor’s degree at Northern Illinois University, his master’s degree at Miami University and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. During World War II, he served as a pilot in the 101st Airborne of the U.S. Army Air Force, earning the EAME Theatre ribbon with Silver and Bronze Star Medals.
The SURE program is a 10-week summer program open to all ISU undergraduates (and some high school students). About 40 students engage in research under the direction of a faculty mentor. The SURE program runs May through August. Scholarships are generally offered to students who will have completed at least one year of coursework in biology, chemistry, geology, or physics by May of the current academic year.
Dr. Christopher Olsen, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said students work with professors in their labs or in the field doing original, hands-on research.
“It is the very model of experiential learning and the sort of opportunity that happens at ISU, when at most schools only graduate students get these chances,” Olsen said. “It also embodies what Bill Brett advocated nearly seven decades ago: undergraduates doing original research with their faculty members. We are so grateful to Judy Brett for making this possible.”
All SURE researchers, including students and faculty, meet every Friday throughout the program for a seminar series, at which students will periodically give presentations on their research focus and progress.
The students will also present their work at the SURE Research Symposium held at the conclusion of the program. SURE students are encouraged to continue their research during the following academic year and to present the results of their effort at regional or national research symposia.