Endowing a fellowship: A story of giving

Robert Sundahl faced many challenges while he worked toward his doctorate in metallurgical engineering. However, his greatest challenge occurred outside of the classroom—trying to balance a full class schedule while raising a family on limited resources.

“Raising a family on a modest budget and working 60-70 hours on my degree was tough,” Sundahl said.

Sundahl’s financial burdens were lessened by a fellowship endowment he received. Years later, he decided to provide the same assistance for chemical engineering and materials science graduate students by creating the Robert and Beverly Sundahl Fellowship Endowment, which provides research support for Ph.D. candidate students for up to three years.

“The University of Minnesota played such an important role in my careers...that I wanted to make a contribution to help someone in the same way I was helped.”

Sundahl said receiving financial support as a research fellow is crucial to overcome the huge costs required.

“The University of Minnesota played such an important role in my careers with Bell Laboratories, Allied Signal and Intel Corporation that I wanted to make a contribution to help someone in the same way I was helped,” Sundahl said.

According to Sundahl, the fellowship endowment “provides encouragement and an additional incentive to succeed.”

Today, Sundahl and his wife Beverly, who live in Arizona, spend much of their time traveling across the United States. They often visit the University to meet with the current recipient of their endowment.

“We do a lot of chasing around these days,” Sundahl said. “The recipients of my endowment are doing a different kind of chasing these days. They are chasing their dream.”