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   from the issue of August 19, 2004

Fund supports undergraduate horticulture research


Breakthroughs in agricultural research are common at the University of Nebraska. A newly established fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation ensures undergraduates will have a hand in this important work.

Warren and Alberta Gabelman of Madison, Wis., established the first ever endowment in support of undergraduate research for the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at UNL. The Warren and Alberta Timmas Gabelman Fund is a permanent endowment to provide undergraduate research stipends for students working with horticulture professors on genetic and plant breeding research programs.

The Gabelmans also plan to bequeath the Timmas family farm outside of Plattsmouth, Neb., to the NU Foundation for use by the horticulture program for research.

Gabelman, a 1942 NU graduate, said research programs in his field during the 1930s depended on undergraduate students for technical support. Today, university research often depends on graduate students and post-doctoral appointments, leaving fewer opportunities for undergraduates to become deeply involved in the programs.

"After four years of working in a research program in the 1930s, we had a very good understanding of what research was and what it could do for mankind," Gabelman said. "The professional capabilities and success of students from that era is in no small way a reflection of the philosophy of science absorbed by them as undergraduates."

Steven Waller, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, described the Gabelman fund as an innovative way to support both student learning and horticulture in general. He said the fund will provide students with skills that will be invaluable when beginning their career.

The Gabelmans used a charitable gift annuity at the University of Nebraska Foundation to establish their fund.

Warren Gabelman earned his doctorate at Yale University after World War II Naval service in the Pacific. After being hired as an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin in 1949, Gabelman was instrumental in establishing a strong research and teaching program in plant breeding and plant genetics in the department of horticulture there. Alberta Timmas Gabelman received bachelor's and master's degrees in home economics education from NU in 1941 and 1947 respectively and was a teacher until her retirement.



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