Miami University alumnus Russell B. Starkey Jr. ('64) recently made a $150,000 gift, creating two scholarships that will support Miami students studying physics, mathematics or the physical or natural sciences.
“The scientific and technical undergraduate education I received in the physics department at Miami, combined with the different perspectives I gained through Miami’s liberal arts focused curriculum, provided the foundation of my career,” said Starkey. “As I approach the end of that career, it’s time to give back and provide future students the means and opportunity to come to Miami and benefit from a similar experience.”
Starkey, a physics major who attended Miami on a full Naval ROTC scholarship, was active in both Naval ROTC and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity as an undergraduate. Following graduation, he was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Navy and was selected to one of the first classes of Admiral Hyman Rickover’s yearlong nuclear power school. Starkey served as an officer on one conventional and two nuclear submarines during his 10-year naval career, rising to the rank of Lt. Commander and finishing his naval career as assistant director of the Navy’s Submarine School Engineering Division.
Over the next 35-plus years, Starkey held several management positions, including general manager and vice president of four separate nuclear facilities, two power generation stations, and two uranium enrichment plants. His last position was as a corporate vice president for USEC Inc., a global energy company that is the leading enriched uranium fuel supplier for commercial nuclear power plants.
Starkey directed $100,000 of the gift to create the Starkey Family Physics Scholarship, which will be awarded to two or more incoming undergraduate students who are majoring in physics. According to Michael Pechan, professor and chair of Miami’s department of physics, Starkey’s involvement with the department extends beyond his financial commitment.
“Russ first reconnected with Miami and the physics department through a seminar he gave on the nuclear power industry and the wealth of opportunities it offered our students,” Pechan said. “Our students were so enthusiastic in approaching him afterward that he also arranged for them to visit a uranium enrichment facility. The scholarship, which reflects the passion Mr. Starkey feels about his own Miami education, is the first of its kind for our department and will be invaluable in attracting new students.”
An additional $50,000 will create the Starkey Family Miami University Undergraduate Scholarship, which will be awarded to two or more incoming undergraduate students who intend to major in mathematics or the physical or natural sciences.
“Because of the generosity of Russ Starkey and his family, we will be able to recognize and reward high-ability students,” said Phyllis Callahan, interim dean of the College of Arts and Science. “These scholarships will have a significant and positive impact on the recipients, providing them with encouragement and support in achieving their academic goals. We are deeply grateful.”
The gift counts toward the Miami University campaign For Love and Honor, a $500 million initiative supporting scholarships, faculty, student-learning opportunities, academic programs, and facilities and grounds.