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Campus Department Briefs: Former anthropology prof donates $8 million

By Mika Mandelbaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 9, 2005
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Gift relieves budget pressures in top-flight anthropology program

A former UA professor pledged $8 million to the anthropology department to fund a variety of projects including renovation of the 80-year-old Arizona State Museum building on campus.

A. Richard Diebold Jr., a professor emeritus of anthropology, and his Salus Mundi Foundation will give the department four increments of $2 million, the largest donation ever received by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Diebold's contributions to the department total about $11 million.

Diebold could not be reached for comment.

"Dr. Diebold's gift is surely one of the most selfless and generous acts I've ever witnessed," said John Olsen, regents professor and head of the anthropology department.

Some of the money will help fund the renovation of the Arizona State Museum and the department's University Indian Ruin property in eastern Tucson. But most of the donation will be endowed for support of student and faculty development ranging from travel assistance to fellowship support, Olsen said.

"I truly believe this latest donation ensures the health and continued good fortunes of our department," Olsen said. "Dr. Diebold's latest gift will go a long way toward helping us avoid the worst consequences of the budget cuts that have plagued the university the past few years."

The anthropology department is ranked No. 5 in the country, according to the National Research Council. The linguistic anthropology program specifically is ranked No. 1.

"It recognizes the true excellence of one of this nation's best anthropology departments," said Ed Donnerstein, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "Professor Diebold is an incredible individual and has done so much to make sure that the University of Arizona's department of anthropology remains preeminent in research and teaching."

Cancer Center grant renewed

The UA Cancer Center had a grant worth more than $21 million renewed for another five years.

The national cancer institute of the National Institute of Health renewed the grant so the UA could continue research trials on ways to prevent pre-cancerous polyps, said Dr. Peter Lance, professor of medicine and co-director for cancer prevention and control.

"The overall objective of the grant is to find out how to prevent colon cancer," Lance said.

The researchers will study 1,600 patients to see the effects of selenium on polyps, Lance said.

In previous trials new pre-cancerous polyps that have a great risk of turning into colon cancer were reduced by 40 percent, Lance said.

"Colon cancer is now the second most common fatal cancer, so it's a very large public health problem," Lance said. "If we can find simple, safe and inexpensive ways that people can reduce their risk for colon cancer, then that will obviously be a great benefit to society at large."

Lance said the Cancer Center is very excited to continue the selenium research trials.

GPSC passes 2005-2006 budget

The Graduate and Professional Student Council unanimously passed their $179,915 budget Tuesday.

The total amount budgeted will be used for travel grants, club funding, the Student Showcase, and Professional Opportunity and Development grants.

The $50,800 budgeted for travel grants is up by 77 percent from last year's budgeted amount. GPSC does not expect the amount to be near enough to match demand because departments across campus have been cutting budgets for graduate student travel funding.

The Student Showcase was budgeted for $13,160, with the plan to raise $15,000 to $18,000 in additional support for the event.

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