News from the Aurora University community

AU receives $250,000 matching grant from Gerald A. and Karen A. Kolschowsky Foundation to support John C. Dunham Stem Partnership School

Posted by on November 15, 2013

Aurora University today announced a $250,000 matching grant from the Gerald A. and Karen A. Kolschowsky Foundation to support the construction and material needed for the John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School. Scheduled to open in fall 2014, this first-of-its-kind school was created through a unique and intentional collaboration between Aurora University, a variety of corporate and not-for-profit community partners, and four local public school districts – East Aurora District 131, Indian Prairie District 204, Oswego Community Unit District 308 and West Aurora District 129.

The 31,000-square-foot flexible STEM Partnership School facility will include classrooms, laboratories and a multipurpose room, which will provide a multigenerational learning environment to both STEM Partnership School classes during the day and Aurora University classes in the evening and during the summer. The school will incorporate new technologies throughout the facility; specific features are still being finalized at this time, but will include sustainable features such as solar panels and a wind turbine to reduce energy costs, as well as a green roof that accommodates a greenhouse.

Nationwide, STEM education – the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – is a major focus among educators, legislators and employers, who stress the importance of these subjects to prepare students for thriving careers in the global workforce.

“The STEM Partnership School further advances the Aurora University’s longstanding commitment to STEM education and we are grateful to the Kolschowsky Foundation for their generous support,” said Dr. Rebecca Sherrick, president, Aurora University. “The STEM Partnership School will enhance the region and State of Illinois’ ability to attract and retain top STEM talent to fuel economic growth today, while developing the skilled workforce of tomorrow by providing students with opportunities to learn more about education and careers in STEM fields.”

When fully operational, the STEM Partnership School will serve approximately 200 students from third through eighth grade who demonstrate proficiency and talent in mathematics and science. Admissions decisions will be made by each partner school district based on criteria including: teacher recommendations, parent and student interest, as well as grades and results on state achievement tests. Partner school districts will accept student applications beginning in late fall/early winter, with admissions decisions announced by spring of 2014. Parent information meetings will be held late fall/early winter to answer questions.

“We commend Aurora University’s leadership in the advancement of STEM education for both teachers and students in our community,” said Timothy Kolschowsky, vice president of the Gerald A. and Karen A. Kolschowsky Foundation, Inc. “With a legacy of providing grants to organizations with a focus on children, youth and higher education, the Foundation is proud to support this effort and we hope our matching gift will inspire others to do the same.”

With the support of the State of Illinois and private donors, Aurora University has secured more than $11 million of the $12.4 million total construction cost for the STEM Partnership School. Individuals or organizations seeking to support the STEM Partnership School under the Kolschowsky matching grant should contact Liz Goodfellow, director of foundation/grant support at Aurora University, at or 630.844.6557.


Aurora University is an inclusive community dedicated to the transformative power of learning, annually educating more than 4,800 degree-seeking students at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. The university has a long tradition of preparing students for lives of service and leadership, and using its resources and expertise to meet the needs of the community. In addition to its main campus in Aurora, Ill., AU offers programs online, at its George Williams College campus in Williams Bay, Wis., and at the Woodstock Center in downtown Woodstock, Ill. Learn more at

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Deborah Maue
University Communications