New Hubbard Funds encourage student careers in paleontology and archeology

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When Ted Hubbard Jr. was a boy, his father, Dr. Theodore F. Hubbard, used to bring him to see the fossils in Morrill Hall on football gamedays in Lincoln.

His mother, Claire, remembered stopping along Nebraska country roads for Ted to look for fossils and arrowheads.

Today, Ted Hubbard and his family are helping University of Nebraska students who study paleontology and archaeology. Their generous support of scholarships is providing opportunities for students to engage in the exciting “digs” in the field that uncovers evidence for what Nebraska was like thousands and millions of years ago.

Ted wants today’s students to experience the same excitement of discovery and love of science that he enjoyed as a boy.

Two new funds at the University of Nebraska Foundation are providing key opportunities for students, thanks to generous gifts from the Theodore F. and Claire M. Hubbard Family Foundation of Omaha.

The Hubbard Science Education Fund is helping the university recruit bright graduate students in paleontology in the UNL Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and it also supports summer field work in archaeology by undergraduate and graduate students in the UNL Department of Anthropology.

The Hubbard Fund for Student Support at Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park funds a summer internship for a University of Nebraska student to work at the University of Nebraska State Museum’s branch at the world-famous fossil site near Royal, Neb.

The Hubbard Vertebrate Paleontology Fellowship under the Hubbard Science Education Fund helped UNL recruit Katheryn Chen, who is a recent graduate of Boston University and was looking at top-ranked paleontology graduate programs in the country for her graduate work.

Chen said she is “extremely grateful” for the Hubbard Vertebrate Paleontology Fellowship because it allows her to continue her education.

“Without this fellowship,” she said, “I would not be able to afford this course of study.”

Chen said she decided to come to UNL because she’s interested in vertebrate paleontology and wanted to study at a university with a museum containing one of the top collections of fossil mammals.

“The Hubbard Vertebrate Paleontology Fellowship affords me the resources so I may conduct research which will provide me with the experience I need to move forward in this field,” she said.

The Hubbard Fund for Student Support at Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park made its first summer intern award in 2013 to Samuel Wilton, an undergraduate student in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at UNL. This fund was also made possible by a gift from the Hubbard Family Foundation.

Since he was a boy, Samuel Wilton has dreamed of having a career looking for fossils. This summer, thanks to the internship provided by the Hubbard Fund, he could do just that at Ashfall.

Ashfall Fossil Beds in northeast Nebraska contains skeletons of extinct rhinos, camels, horses and other animals. The animals died from inhaling abrasive volcanic ash that killed them in and near a waterhole 12 million years ago. This past summer, Wilton helped in the ongoing excavation of these unique fossils and had a hands-on opportunity to uncover fossil bones from the ash in which they had been hidden so long ago.

A geology major at UNL, Wilton was chosen for the internship at Ashfall Fossil Beds after it was advertised through the UNL Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Eligible students for the Hubbard internship are undergraduate or graduate students enrolled at any campus of the University of Nebraska during the spring semester immediately prior to the summer season.

“Receiving the Ashfall internship is a goal I have had since I first visited the park when I was five,” Wilton said. “It is very exciting, and I am honored to have received the Hubbard internship to help make it all possible.”

Ashfall is one of about six enclosed fossil sites in North America and is world famous for the remarkable preservation of its delicate fossils. In addition to helping in the excavation, Wilton had the opportunity to assist and explain the park to visitors, work in the fossil preparation lab and sort excavated ash to recover microfossils from smaller animals.

Working at Ashfall Fossil Beds gave him a great amount of practical experience in geology, a field he really enjoys.

“It is one of the most open-ended of the sciences,” he said. “Geologists can study dinosaurs, volcanoes, asteroids, rivers, mountains, earthquakes, ancient climate and geography and so much more.

“Paleontology in particular is exciting just to know that anywhere in the state, it is possible to find fossils of some form, from the mammoths found in almost every county to the Cretaceous ocean rocks in the southeast portion of the state. Personally, I am very interested in the possibility of studying rivers and oceans, both modern and prehistoric.”

Theodore “Ted” F. and Claire M. Hubbard were longtime Omaha residents and philanthropists. Ted Hubbard was a graduate of the University of Nebraska where he received a bachelor’s degree and a doctor of medicine in 1946. He completed an internship and served two years in the Army, stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center near Washington, D.C.

Claire Watson Hubbard was a Boston native and graduated from Regis College in Massachusetts. During World War II she was a dietitian for the Army and served four years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Ted and Claire Hubbard met in Washington, D.C. and married in 1950. Ted Hubbard pursued a medical fellowship at the Mayo Clinic before the couple moved to Omaha in 1953, where they raised two children, Anne and Theodore Jr. Dr. Hubbard was a pioneer in the field of cardiology, serving his entire career in Omaha helping people in Nebraska and western Iowa.

Dr. Ted Hubbard died in 1995 and Claire Hubbard died in 2011. They established charitable family foundations to continue their philanthropic ambitions.

The Hubbard family has generously supported the University of Nebraska over the years. Their contributions have benefited the University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, University of Nebraska State Museum and its branch museum at Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park, and University of Nebraska at Omaha. The family has also provided support to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, among other Nebraska organizations.

Student support is a top priority of the Campaign for Nebraska. If you would also like to help promising students like Samuel Wilton and Katheryn Chen, please give online or contact the University of Nebraska Foundation at 800-432-3216.

Foundation intern Rebecca Carr wrote this story. She is a senior advertising and public relations major from Lincoln. She plays piccolo in the Cornhusker Marching Band and is a David Distinguished Scholarship recipient.

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