Selected projects by science students at St. Mary’s College of Maryland will be funded by a series of charitable donations from the new Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust Ruth Mathes Scholarship Program. A letter of agreement was signed by Michael Rudy, Board of Directors president of the Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust, and St. Mary’s President Joseph Urgo. Also attending was Bob Boxwell, a St. Mary’s alumnus and executive director of the Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust (CPNHT).
CPNHT is a non-profit trust in Calvert County, made up of the Sierra Club, the Maryland Conservation Council, and the Dominion Cove Point LNG (one of the nation’s largest liquefied natural gas plants). CPNHT’s mission is to preserve and protect ecologically sensitive sites in Southern Maryland through land conservation and acquisition, research, and environmental education. The annual gift is part of a larger plan to give research education funds to area educational organizations that include the College of Southern Maryland, the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, and Morgan State University.
The St. Mary’s award could go to a biology student or a chemistry student working on an estuarine study of the St. Mary’s River, or a study of area birds or aquatic animals, for example. “The intent is to create a partnership, a synergy, between our trust’s efforts and the preservation of the future of our shorelines, our land, and seas,” said Rudy. “We want to honor our founder Ruth Mathes by assisting academically outstanding students.
Mathes was a career state and federal environmental protection official for agencies including the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and founding president of the CPNHT. She died in 2004 at age 75.
“We are very excited to team with St. Mary’s College to kick off our scholarship program. We feel that this is the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership to preserve and protect ecologically sensitive sites in Southern Maryland,” added Rudy.
“You cannot separate the land and water from the college,” said college President Urgo. “In our minds and hearts, they are intertwined. This will help our students a lot.”
“This scholarship opportunity for our students will enhance the quality of environmental research at St. Mary’s College,” said Christopher Tanner, biology professor. “It will allow more students to conduct research on topics related to the Chesapeake Bay and the watershed.” Tanner will help decide which projects get the scholarships.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. More than 2,000 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary’s River in Southern Maryland.