Monday, December 06, 2010

[230] State Farm Insurance Continues to Ensure Excellence in Education with $22k Gift to MTSU

Contact: Tom Tozer, 615-898-2919; Nick Perlick, 615-904-8409

State Farm Insurance continues to ensure excellence in education with $22K gift to MTSU

MURFREESBORO—State Farm Insurance recently presented a check for $22,000 to the MTSU Foundation to continue the company’s support of four outstanding programs that promote student creativity and scholarship and help the university attract and retain the finest business faculty.
Jeff Shay, State Farm vice president of operations, and Leslie Eatherly of the company’s public- affairs office toured the campus and enjoyed lunch with university faculty and administrators.
“It is important to me, as a father and business leader, to support the educational programs at Middle Tennessee State University,” Shay said. “Our longtime commitment to MTSU has proven to be beneficial not only to MTSU students but also students in our local school system. And while our investment may affect the community outside the State Farm facility, it definitely makes an impact inside our own walls, where we employ more than 1,700 people with children who attend local schools and the university.”
The MTSU Science Olympiad Regional Tournament, for which $4,000 of the gift was earmarked, is one of the programs supported by State Farm that involves youngsters throughout the region. Every year since 2001, middle- and high-school students spend a Saturday on campus competing in events that relate to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“Since many schools have very tight budgets, it’s great to have a partner that can help bring STEM education to many of their students,” noted Dr. Pat Patterson, associate professor of chemistry and Olympiad director. “The coaches and I are thankful to have State Farm as a partner in middle Tennessee. We have received more than $31,000 from them.”
MTSU Invention Convention received $6,000 of the most recent donation. The first Invention Convention occurred in 1993 and involved 56 students and 42 inventions, Dr. Tracey Ring, professor of elementary and special education and event director, pointed out. Last year’s event attracted more than 300 students and 132 inventions, she said, and has grown so large that it is now held in MTSU’s Murphy Center.
“In addition to the awards given in each of the categories,” Ring said, “an award to honor State Farm’s involvement was created. The State Farm Excellence Award honors projects of excellence and expresses our deep appreciation for their support.”
The discipline of actuarial science trains students to apply mathematical skills and statistical techniques to assess risk in the insurance and finance industries, explained Dr. Don Hong, MTSU professor of mathematical sciences. Hong received $2,000 for the program.
“The State Farm Insurance Scholarship for Excellence in Actuarial Science has been beneficial to many of our students in the program,” Hong said. “We are very proud to report that one of the recent scholarship recipients has achieved Fellow membership status from the Society of Actuaries.”
This fall, six students from China enrolled in the actuarial science program at MTSU, he added. “The program cannot continue to thrive without support from our fine partners like State Farm Insurance.”
Finally, $10,000 of the donation will support the State Farm Award for Professional Promise, providing financial assistance to retain bright, young faculty in MTSU’s Jennings A. Jones College of Business.
“We are indebted to State Farm for their recognition of the fact that by keeping and encouraging the best faculty talent, we are insuring that we will teach and graduate the brightest students who will contribute to the public welfare and common good,” said Dr. E. James Burton, dean of the Jones College.
“State Farm has been a great partner with MTSU for many years,” added Nick Perlick, MTSU director of development. “Their support has made a significant impact on our actuary program and several initiatives targeting students in kindergarten through 12th grades. We are very fortunate to have them in our community and involved with the university.”

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