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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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New endowment from Anne, John Frey supports undergrad renewable energy research

One of only a few in U.S.

New endowment promotes student research into renewable energy.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office news release [6/23/2010]

Undergraduate student research in renewable energy and green technology is being invigorated by a unique new Minnesota State University, Mankato endowment from Anne and John Frey of Mankato.

The Anne and John Frey Renewable Energy/Bio Products Research Endowment, donated to the university in May, is one of only a handful of undergraduate sustainable energy research funds in the nation.

It will provide $3,000 each year to a student who conducts applied, faculty-mentored research in all areas of biomass energy, including solar, wind and hydro energy. The endowment also will support student research into energy conservation and bio-based products.

Each student will receive $500 for supplies, and the student’s College of Science, Engineering & Technology faculty mentor will receive a $500 stipend.

“This is a wonderful gift, made even more significant by Anne and John Frey’s interest in undergraduate applied research into renewable energy and green technology solutions,” said Minnesota State Mankato President Richard Davenport. “This is one of a few privately funded, undergraduate research endowments in Minnesota, and its focus on renewable technology makes it especially meaningful in today’s world.”

“I thank Anne and John for this generous endowment. It will provide exciting opportunities for student-faculty teams to develop new products and processes that will reduce our fossil fuel dependence, promote Minnesota as a renewable energy leader, and make life better for citizens of Minnesota and the world.”

Over time the endowment is intended to enhance the state’s economy, create high-quality jobs, and improve U.S. environmental quality and energy independence. It also will foster new ways of transferring research into commercially useful technology innovations.

Anne Frey, who conceived the idea of an endowment to support faculty-mentored student research, said the concept was prompted by a northeast Kansas family who she and her husband knew before they were married.

“Their oldest son, who was killed in Vietnam, was a couple of years behind me in school, and their second son was a high school student of John’s,” Anne Frey said. “Their third son died of cancer when he was a student at Kansas State University, and his family established a grant at Kansas State University for an undergraduate student and a faculty member to conduct cancer research.”

“Each year as I read about the grant recipients in the hometown newspaper, I would remark, ‘That is such a wonderful idea; I would like to do something like that.’”
The fellowship will increase the volume of student-faculty research in renewable energy and bio-based products, John Frey added.

“Students and faculty are a tremendous resource to the Greater Mankato region,” he said. “This fellowship will provide an even greater link between Minnesota State Mankato and the community. The emphasis on applied research and technology transfer should inspire the movement of ideas toward commercialization.”

Anne Frey holds degrees in nursing, elementary education, health education and accounting. John Frey, after receiving his doctorate, served for 37 years as a faculty member and dean of Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Science, Engineering & Technology. He actively sought and obtained grants, and led successful campaigns for state and federal appropriations and for several million dollars in contracts, grants and private donations.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive, doctoral university with 14,950 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 32 institutions across the state.

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