Research and development

.When Stuart Lehr ’71 was invited to sponsor a student in the newly created Cornell Fellows Program last year, he immediately said yes. His donation created the Lehr Fellowship in Bioscience and enabled Tyler Ulland ’06 to spend two months conducting research at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston last winter.

Lehr, a radiologist from Des Moines, Iowa, had already been giving more than $1,500 annually to the college as a member of the Presidents Society but didn’t hesitate when asked to contribute for a fellowship, a $5,000 investment.

“I wanted to pay back Cornell for all they’ve given me,” he says. “I just realized how much I got from Cornell and how much it helped me get into medical school.”

Lehr requested that his money be used to open an opportunity for someone in biological sciences, and the college presented him with a menu of four or five options, he says. The project he chose at Baylor proved to be a fruitful one for Ulland.

Ulland’s research focused on obesity, specifically looking at high-fat and high-cholesterol diets, and was performed at the Children’s Nutritional Research Center affiliated with the Baylor College of Medicine. His contributions to the research will be recognized in a second authorship on a scholarly paper to be published in the near future.

“The Baylor experience was certainly unique in that I was able to enter a very high-powered lab at one of the premier academic and medical research institutions in the country,” says Ulland.

Ulland is now working toward a Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary program in immunology at the University of Iowa, and he believes his work at Baylor greatly aided him in the application process.

Lehr is gratified by Ulland’s experience but sees the reflection of his giving even more clearly in the collegiate lives of his two sons, Kent Lehr ’06 and Peter, a Cornell junior. Lehr was especially moved while attending Kent’s graduation ceremony at Cornell last June.

“It really hit home when I saw the professors posing for pictures with Kent and the other students,” he said. “You could see in the professors’ eyes just how much their relationships to the students meant to them and how proud they were to see them moving to the next level.

“I think back about my own professors and how important they were in guiding me, and now my sons have had that same experience, sometimes with the same teachers I had.”