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Duke Endowment gives $17 million to Furman

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GREENVILLE, N.C. — The Duke Endowment has given $17 million to Furman University in Greenville, S.C., the largest gift in the school’s history.

Furman will use $14 million to create the Charles H. Townes Scholarship Program to support tuition costs for out-of-state students. The first 10 Townes scholars will be enrolled for 2009-10.

Another 10 scholarships will be added each year, with the goal of awarding a total of 40 Townes scholarships of $30,000 each by 2012-13.

The program is named for Townes, a Furman alumnus and winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in quantum electronics for the development of the maser.

The remaining $3 million will fund endowed professorships in Furman’s Department of Asian Studies.

“Our hope is that Furman alumni and friends will be inspired to follow suit in supporting these and other strategic campaign objectives,” Russell M. Robinson II, chair of The Duke Endowment, says in a statement.

Based in Charlotte, N.C., The Duke Endowment is a private foundation created by James B. Duke in 1924 to support programs for education, healthcare, child welfare and spiritual life in the Carolinas.

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