VIDEO: OLLU only Texas university to get federal grant

Posted on Thursday, October 8, 2009

Updated: Dec. 21, 2009

Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) is the only Texas four-year university to win a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Title V program for Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions, according to a list of award grantees released this month. 

Download the list of grant winners or go online and click on "List of grantees" for FY 2009.

OLLU will use its $2.43 million grant for upgrades to the labs, facilities and equipment of OLLU's biology, chemistry and mathematics programs.

Robbie Kouri, associate professor and chair of the Chemistry and Physical Science Department, wrote the grant with the help of Howard Jones, the University’s sponsored programs officer, and said the five-year

Video: Chemistry Department reacts to grant announcement
Title V grant is part of a program whose goal is to increase the graduation rate of Hispanic science and mathematics majors. 

When he first learned of the news, Kouri said he was numb with excitement that OLLU had won the grant for the exact amount that he proposed in his grant application.  The first installment of $572,620 was effective Oct. 1.

“This Title V grant will allow the biology, chemistry and mathematics departments to completely modernize all chemistry and biology labs, upgrade and build new computer labs and outfit the research labs with industry standard equipment so OLLU science and mathematics majors will have experience using the latest equipment,” Kouri said.  “Our graduates will be more competitive in a graduate school environment or in the technical workplace.” 

In addition, Kouri said the grant would help OLLU further attract talented Hispanic students with an interest in studying biology, chemistry or mathematics.

Kouri will serve as project director of the grant, with assistance from Jim Hall, PhD, professor of biology and biology department chair; Charles Smith, PhD, professor of chemistry; and Alfredo Vaquiax, PhD, associate professor of mathematics and mathematics department chair, who will serve as co-directors.

The funds will be used for renovation of all biology and chemistry laboratories – most of which have not undergone renovations since 1980.  The grant will also fund upgrades to research facilities, new technology in all classrooms in Metz Hall (Science Building) and industry standard research equipment.

Additional plans include the construction of a biology computer laboratory, upgrades to existing computer labs, course and curriculum revision and extensive faculty development.