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Haer family donation will fund interdisciplinary science research at Thiel College


GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College alumni Fred Haer ’65 and his wife, Jill (Shackett) Haer ’66, have pledged more than $400,000 to fund the Greenville Neuromodulation Center (GNC) Faculty/Student Research Institute.

The Haers are giving $135,000 per year for three years to pay for multi-year research projects and a summer research institute that focus on connecting science and liberal arts at Thiel College. The research institute begins this summer and research projects are set to begin in January.

“The Haers’ generosity to Thiel College, as well as the Greenville area, is inspiring. This is just one example of the family’s confidence in the value of a liberal arts education and the mission of Thiel College,” Thiel College President Troy D. VanAken, Ph.D., said. “The connection between students and faculty is vital. That relationship is strengthened by working side-by-side on an idea, experiment or project. The GNC Faculty/Student Research Institute will provide significant opportunities for students and faculty to learn and discover together. We are encouraged by the initial projects, excited about the long-term potential of this program and look forward to sharing the outcomes from the research that is conducted.”

The institute is open to all Thiel College faculty members, but maintains an emphasis on interdisciplinary science activities. Assistant Professor of Biology Delbert Abi Abdallah, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of Psychology Shannon Deets, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of English Jared Johnson, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of Performing Arts Pete Rydberg, Ph.D.; and Associate Professor of Chemistry Chris Stanisky, Ph.D., have had their research projects selected to be included in the inaugural class. Each will be doing their research in conjunction with students.

In 1970, the Haers founded FHC, Inc. The company’s microelectrode recording and stimulation technology serves neuroscientific research and neurosurgical operating rooms with more than 7,000 unique metal microelectrodes and a broad range of state-of-the-art research and clinical instruments. FHC translates the most promising concepts to leading-edge tools and techniques. As the holder of numerous patents and recipient of many Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, FHC continues to advance the understanding and practices of neuroscience. Greenville Neuromodulation Services (GNS), a wholly owned subsidiary of FHC, Inc., supports the neuroscience industry with a full range of services for medical professionals involved in the treatment of movement disorders is located in Greenville, along with the nonprofit GNC.

Additionally, the Haer Family Symposium at Thiel College has been named in honor of the Haers. This annual lecture series is in its third year. The first installment of the series had international experts in Greenville to discuss deep brain stimulation. The second event had best-selling author Sandeep Jauhar, M.D., and John’s Hopkins economist and author Douglas Hough, Ph.D., discussing the “Health Care Conundrum.” The series focuses on inspiring students, faculty and staff to pursue innovative multidisciplinary research, applying knowledge and breaking new ground in service to humanity.

About Thiel College

Thiel College is an independent college founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The College is also home to a Master of Science in speech-language pathology, a Leadership Master of Business Administration and a Management Master of Business Administration. Both master’s degree programs offer innovative and accelerated five-year paths which allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. The speech-language pathology program also has an accelerated 15-month graduate-level program. The M.B.A. program also has a 12-month post-graduate program. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to combining tradition with innovation.

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