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April 16, 2014

Douglas and Constance Beck endow political science fellowship

Douglas and Constance Beck have committed more than $1 million to establish an endowed fellowship for doctoral students in political science and related fields.

“With their gift, Doug and Connie are ensuring that the next generation of researchers will have the deep analytical skills needed to help address some of the most vexing problems of the 21st century,” says President Joel Seligman. “Doug has spent his professional life helping governments and organizations solve complex challenges, including those in public policy and transportation. The Becks’ generosity will make it possible for others to continue this kind of important work far into the future.”

Douglas Beck knows firsthand the value of support for graduate training. The University offered a fellowship for his own research in political science during the 1970s, allowing him to complete his master’s and doctoral degrees at Rochester. “There was really no other way to do it at the time,” he recalls. “So when giving back became financially feasible, I was thrilled to be able to do this.”

Senior vice president of ICF International—a publicly traded global consulting firm—Beck credits his successful career in government and business to his Rochester education. Beck also respects Rochester’s collaborative approach to problem solving. He particularly appreciated the strong ties between the political science and economics departments. “Throughout my career I have seen that complex problems are not solved by one discipline alone. To really get things done in a quality way, you need to pull in many perspectives,” he says.

Richard Niemi, the Don Alonzo Watson Professor of History and Political Science and interim chair for the Department of Political Science, says the fellowship will help strengthen graduate studies at Rochester. He says the social sciences and humanities are always in need of support for graduate students, and having an ongoing source of support will help attract the most promising researchers. “We are in competition with other universities that have substantial funds for supporting students,” says Niemi. “We have to keep up to continue to get the best candidates.”

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