New support fund for astronomy graduate students announced

Graduate students studying astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences have a new source of support, thanks to an endowment established in memory of eminent astronomer Riccardo Giovanelli, who passed away in Dec. 2022 at the age of 76. The Riccardo Giovanelli Graduate Student Support Fund will provide annual support to graduate students in the Department of Astronomy.

“Graduate students are the future of astronomy, and so this very generous gift will enable Cornell to play an even stronger role in ensuring a healthy future for the field,” said Jonathan Lunine, David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences and chair of the astronomy department.

Giovanelli, professor emeritus of astronomy (A&S), is remembered by his colleagues for his generous treatment of students, as well as his colleagues, and that kindness helped inspire the fund.

Person standing at a podium
Chuck Mund, Jr. '81, seen here speaking at "Gas-trophysics Across the Universe in July, contributed the lead gift to the Riccardo Giovanelli Graduate Student Support Fund
George Gull

“Riccardo was a friend and I wanted to honor him,” said Chuck Mund, Jr. ’81, who contributed the fund’s lead gift. “I think it’s critical to support science in our giving.”

The fund was announced July 15 at “Gas-trophysics Across the Universe,” an all-day event honoring Giovanelli and planetary astronomer Peter Gierasch, professor emeritus of astronomy (A&S), who passed away in January of this year. The talks revolved around the research done by the two astronomers, including the gases between stars, planetary atmospheres and the Fred Young Submillimeter Telescope.

The symposium was organized by the Friends of Astronomy, a group of alumni and friends of the Department of Astronomy “interested in all things astronomical.” The group holds lectures, workshops, excursions, and courses geared to amateur astronomers. Mund co-leads the group along with Martha Haynes, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences in Astronomy (A&S).

Gifts may be made online to the Riccardo Giovanelli Graduate Student Support Fund. For alternative giving methods or inquiries about making a gift, please visit Giving to Cornell or contact Sara D’Aprix,

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		A room full of people facing a speaker at a podum