$1 million given to MU in grad student’s name

She had finished defending her doctoral dissertation only hours before the announcement.
Monday, January 24, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:07 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

When Lynn Boorady defended her dissertation at MU on Tuesday afternoon, there was more to the story than her receiving a doctorate in textile and apparel management.

Only several hours later, Boorady announced that a private organization would donate a $1 million gift in her name to the College of Human Environmental Sciences, to be used for the Textile and Apparel Management Department, specifically graduate studies.

“I knew of the organization, and they knew of my work,” Boorady said. “They decided to donate based on my recommendation about the Textile and Apparel Management Department.”

The only faculty members who knew beforehand about Boorady’s connection with the donation were Kitty Dickerson, chairwoman of textile and apparel management; Nancy Schultz, the college’s director of development; and Stephen Jorgensen, the college’s dean.

“The organization wanted to do something in her name,” Dickerson said, “but she didn’t want it announced until after her dissertation defense to avoid a conflict of interest. Initially, I was able to give information of the gift but not attach a donor.”

Boorady had been working on using computer animation as an aid in teaching concepts and ideas in textile and apparel management. She was recently hired by Iowa State University to develop a program for technical design within the school’s fashion design degree and is teaching pattern-making courses.The money given will establish assistantships named after Lynn M. Boorady, as well as give other financial assistance to graduate students and help develop promotional materials to market the graduate program. The organization, whose name has not been disclosed because it wishes to remain anonymous, took an interest in Boorady’s work and offered the money in her name to recognize her and to honor the department that educated her.

“The textile and apparel management department is an incredible asset to the university, and the faculty are not only some of the best in the field but are each stellar in teaching, research and outreach,” Boorady said. “I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn under their guidance and am thrilled that their hard work and dedication is being rewarded in this manner.”

This donation is the largest in the college’s history, let alone the department’s, and the faculty and staff has experienced a whirlwind of emotions.

“Gifts of this nature are transformational for a department that is small in relation to others,” Jorgensen said. “The proceeds from the endorsement will allow us to compete effectively with other programs around the country in recruiting the very best and brightest grad students. It gives us an edge that up until now we haven’t had.”

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