$1.5 Million Endowed Chair

M'Della Moon

Your continued support as alumni and donors allows Bluffton University students to flourish in many ways. In the last five years, we have added athletic teams, additional student life programming, made our physical campus spaces more vibrant, and created new academic curriculum for our students to explore. Those investments make a big difference in the student living and learning experience.

This issue of the magazine has highlighted the many ways in which we build connections with others similar to and different from ourselves. In addition to our interpersonal connections, we encourage our students to develop a relationship with the outside world, and what better place to do that than on our very own 160-acre Nature Preserve.

I am pleased that last month President Wood announced the establishment of the M’Della Moon Endowed Chair in Botany and Environmental Science thanks to generous funding from anonymous donors. The $1.5 million dollar gift will fund a faculty chair who will divide their time equally between managing the Bluffton University Nature Preserve and teaching university classes.

The endowment is named after M’Della Moon, a long-time member of Bluffton’s science faculty from 1921-61. Moon also served as head of the department of biological science and was a former dean of students at the college and served on the administration and curriculum committees. She attended Central Mennonite College, Bluffton’s predecessor and graduated in 1914. In a citation honoring retiring faculty, Moon was commended for having an influence on campus far beyond her classroom activities.

M'Della Moon

This gift will allow faculty to better utilize the Nature Preserve as a learning laboratory, increase efforts in sustainability and native plant restoration, and enhance learning in the natural sciences across the academic community, student groups and community volunteers.

The endowment will provide annual salary and benefits for the holder of the chair as well as funding for professional development, scholarly research and the development of teaching and learning resources through a five-year appointment, which may be extended.

I am also excited to discover what opportunities Bluffton University has to impact the local community through educational programming, as well as support faculty in developing new “green” majors to attract the next generation of Bluffton students. In my position, I can see what prospective students are interested in studying, and now more than ever, high school students are interested in exploring the natural sciences. This gift will truly impact current and future students, alumni and our surrounding community.