How To Support Us

The Department of Astronomy is continually striving to achieve excellence in its research, teaching, and public outreach activities. Our research is internationally recognized in fields such as planetary astronomy, radio astronomy, and computational astrophysics, and we have established exciting partnerships with NASA Goddard and other institutions. We give our undergraduate and graduate students a top-quality educational foundation for their future careers. We organize regular open houses at the campus observatory as well as Maryland Day presentations, both of which are very popular events. We seek to continue these activities and to make them even better, and we seek to recognize our outstanding faculty and students. However, this cannot be accomplished in full without your help.

In this tight economy, the support of alumni and friends like you is key to our success. Whether you support us yourself or put us in contact with someone who can, your contribution is sincerely appreciated. Your tax-deductible donation will help us strengthen our program with faculty and student recruitment tools, state-of-the-art facilities, and innovative outreach programs.

Gifts can be made with a credit card to the University of Maryland College Park Foundation. For a gift to the Department of Astronomy, choose "Astronomy Department General Fund". For a gift specifically for the Department Observatory and its associated open house program, choose "Astronomy Observatory Gift Fund".

Gifts can also be made via check, made out to the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, with "Astronomy Dept." or "Astronomy Observatory" in the memo. We request that you include a letter such as the following: Department donations or Observatory donations. Checks and their accompanying letters should be sent to:
Dorinda Kimbrell
Director of Administrative Services
Dept. of Astronomy
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
(301) 405-1511

If you plan to make a very large gift, we recommend that you contact:
Dr. Andrew Harris
Professor and Chair
Dept. of Astronomy
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
(301) 405-3001

If you would like to make an 'in kind' donation of goods, such as a telescope, please include a letter listing the item and its approximate value. (We recommend that you hire an appraiser for valuable items for tax purposes.) A form will also be available at the observatory for donations made during public events.

Finally, there are several awards and scholarships which are operated or supported by the Department of Astronomy. Contributions to these allow us to increase the lifespan and/or value of the awards:

  • The Mike A'Hearn Endowed Lectureship was seeded by Dr. Ralph Pass, who earned his Ph.D. in Math at UMD in 1978. His gift honors Mike as one of two faculty who influenced him here. Dr. Pass' gift is for an annual prize lecture on the topic of planetary astronomy; we are starting with a prize colloquium, with a transition to an annual lecture with national reach as the endowment grows. Whatever the venue, an annual lecture is a wonderful way to remind us and the broader community of Mike's influence as a scientist and human being, and we are very grateful to Dr. Pass for his generous gift. We are seeking other contributions, big and small, to reach the full $100,000 target for the endowment.

    The first A'Hearn Lecturer will be Dr. Alan Stern, noted Pluto explorer as New Horizons PI, among many other accomplishments. Dr. Stern will make an in-person visit in Fall 2021.

  • The Neil Gehrels Memorial Endowment in Astrophysics supports undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral research in astrophysics at the University of Maryland in conjunction with work being conducted at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. (Donate by credit card.)

  • The Gregor and Donat Wentzel Scholarship is used to help recruit and retain outstanding students in the Department of Astronomy. (Donate by credit card.)

  • The Dr. John Chi-Lin Wang Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to the best all-around Astronomy graduate student entering his/her third year, based on course work, 2nd-year research project, and the qualifying exam. (Donate by credit card or check.)

  • The Andrew S. Wilson Prize for Excellence in Research is awarded annually to an Astronomy graduate student who is in the final stages of their dissertation work and is applying for jobs. (Donate by credit card or check.)

  • The Philip E. Angerhofer Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award is awarded annually to the graduate student with the best overall performance as a Teaching Assistant during the preceding academic year. (Donate by credit card - Please contact us to ensure that the funds are designated appropriately.)

  • The Justin DeSha-Overcash Summer Research Award is awarded to an out-of-state undergraduate student majoring in Astronomy, Physics, or Geology to enable them to conduct research at UMD during the summer. (Donate by credit card or check.)

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks for your efforts on our behalf!