Friends, former students, and colleagues of Professor Austin Gleeson have joined together to establish the Austin M. Gleeson Endowed Excellence Fund for Physics Outreach. This endowment will celebrate Dr. Gleeson’s lifelong commitment to teaching and service to others, especially his passion for sharing the wonder and fun of Physics with Elementary School students in the broader Austin community. Dr. Gleeson’s dedication to teaching and education has been recognized repeatedly throughout his 5 decades at UT; he is the recipient of the Jean Holloway Award for Excellence in Teaching, The Chad Oliver Award for Teaching Excellence, the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award, and the Amoco Outstanding Teaching Award, as well as a Professor of the Year award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. This endowment will support, in perpetuity, the Department of Physics at the University of Texas at Austin. The Department of Physics has set a goal of raising $500,000 in gifts and pledges for the Austin Gleeson Endowment; all pledges in support of this goal may be paid over a five-year window.
Funds distributed annually from the Austin M. Gleeson Endowed Excellence Fund for Physics Outreach will be used to support the student leaders and performers of the Physics Circus outreach program, which provides free performances of dynamic experiments for over 3,000 Austin-area elementary and middle school students a year. Dr. Gleeson has led the revival of the Physics Circus and served as faculty advisor for the program since 2005, and this Endowment will honor Dr. Gleeson’s legacy of service to the Physics Circus, its student performer-educators, and children of all ages across Austin.
A group of friends and former students have pledged to match the first $205,000 in gifts to Austin M. Gleeson Endowed Excellence Fund for Physics Outreach dollar-for-dollar. In light of this extraordinary opportunity the Department of Physics and College of Natural Sciences look to the former students, friends, and colleagues of Dr. Gleeson to support this initiative.