Goshaw Family Gift

The family of Alfred T. Goshaw, James B. Duke Professor of Physics, contributed $250,000 to endow support for a graduate fellowship in physics research.

The gift from the Goshaw Family Endowment Fund was made as part of Duke’s Financial Aid Initiative, a four-year effort to raise endowment funds to support undergraduate scholarships and graduate and professional school fellowships. The initiative raised $308.5 million, surpassing its $300 million goal.

The gift was made by Dr. Goshaw, his wife, Jene, and his children, David Goshaw and Christina Goshaw Hinkle, and by funds from the estate of Dr. Goshaw’s late mother, Dorothy D. Goshaw, who died March 17, 2006. It was matched with funds from a $100 million challenge fund created by The Duke Endowment of Charlotte and a small group of donors.

In an e-mail, Dr. Goshaw said: “Research programs at Duke are strongly enhanced if we can attract the very best graduate students. In physics we receive applications from outstanding students, but are in strong competition with other universities which often have generous fellowship programs.

“I was musing about this problem with my mother a few years ago, and she is the one that proposed to specify a fraction of her estate for use by Duke in support of physics students based on academic merit. She did not live to see the culmination of her proposal, but I took it to heart and have pursued establishing an endowment for support of a graduate fellowship for physics research. When we are on level playing ground with other universities, I am confident that we can attract more of the very best students.”

Professor and Chair of Physics Daniel J. Gauthier said in an e-mail that the Goshaw gift “will have an immediate as well as long-term impact on our graduate program. Currently, the size of our graduate program is largely limited by funds provided to us by the Graduate School. Also, competition is fierce for the very best students. The Goshaw family gift will help make our program even more attractive. The Goshaw family vision is to create a high-visibility named fellowship that will simultaneously help us attract the very best students as well as increase the number of students who enter our program – a living tribute to Ms. Dorothy Goshaw and her family.

“The endowment will have a multiplying effect on our graduate program. It will allow us to offer an incoming student a named fellowship and the flexibility to start on his or her research immediately. Furthermore, the student can be involved on research that it not currently supported by federal grants. In this way, a student can be working on the far out ideas that have not yet received external support but have the potential for transformative results.

“My hope is that the Goshaw Family Endowment will be the harbinger of future support by alumni, family, and friends of the educational mission of the Department of Physics and Duke University.”