The Danforth Foundation will end a 28-year-old fellowship program that provides funding for graduate students who want to become college teachers.
Jene L. Schwilck, president of the foundation, said yesterday during the past 21 years the organization "overspent its income," requiring a cutback in funding of current programs.
As a result, this April the foundation will select the last group of 100 students to receive fellowship grants, and the program will end in 1986, when they complete their studies.
"It's a sobering situation to see one of the major sources of funding dry up," Margot N. Gill, director of fellowships, said yesterday. "People at universities are saddened by what seems to be a necessary financial step," she added.
For the past several years the foundation awarded fellowships to undergraduates in their senior years and to graduate students who started a doctoral program, Gill said.
The termination of the program will have "a definite effect on students, especially those in the humanities," Gill said.
The fellowship program is also a source of funds for women who want to continue their graduate educations after several years, she said. "To watch those people lose this funding is a very sad picture," Gill added.
Since the program began in 1951, the foundation has awarded fellowships to 3600 students, Schwilck said.
The fellowships cover tuitions, living expenses and other incidental costs of a four-year doctoral program for students who want to teach in colleges and universities he added.
What a Bear
Schwilck said in the past seven years the foundation's capital has declined from about $220 million to $70 million, mainly because of a reduction in the value of its stock holdings. In the same period the foundation's operating budget has declined from $12 million to $4 million, he added.
"The trustees deliberately overspent because we had a number of good projects," Schwilck said.
In the last two years, however, the foundation has reduced its expenditures in part by cutting the number of graduate fellows from a high of about 200 to 100 in recent years, he added.
Despite the general cutbacks, the foundation will continue to provide grants for minority students after the regular fellowships end, Schwilck said.
"No profession is more underrepresented in terms of minorities than college teaching," he added.
Mary M. Murphy, director of admissions and financial aid at the School of Education, said yesterday, "We feel badly about the Danforth money being lost as a source of funding, especially since teaching involves a long education and is not a big paying field."
The foundation's cutbacks will not have a major effect at Tufts University, Christine E. May, a spokesman for the dean's office of undergraduate studies, said yesterday.
"It hasn't been like we've had 1000 students a year applying for this grant. In fact, I don't think we've had a Danforth student here in the last three years," May said.
William H. Danforth, founder of the Ralston Purina Company, established the foundation in 1927 and included his company's stock as a major part of the foundation's holdings. Currently, Ralston Purina Stock accounts for about 80 per cent of the foundation's capital