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Master's Travel Fund

Faces of Philanthropy

Gifts to the Graduate College are changing lives, transforming the future with an immediate impact on students. Read how these gifts made a difference.

  1. Roslyn Snow, MA English 1959, AB 1958
  2. Richard David Stutzke, PhD Physics 1969, MS Physics 1965
  3. 1962 English MA; Founder and CEO International Renewal Institute

Gerry and Jim Bellanca

'62 English MA; Founder and CEO International Renewal Institute

Our love of travel and the arts makes the Graduate College Master’s Travel Fund a perfect fit for us. As an Illinois alum who received a Master’s Degree and subsequently had a successful 40-year career as an educator and education consultant, I know first hand the value of an Illinois’ degree.

I also know there are often financial challenges for master’s students, especially those in terminal master’s programs in the arts and humanities who need to travel for their research. When presented with the opportunity to provide some of the first funding to the Graduate College’s new fund for Master’s Travel, we could immediately appreciate the impact such a gift could have. Indeed, graduate students we’ve funded include an art history major who traveled to Spain for original thesis research and an industrial design major whose new crib design may impact Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Maria Dorofeeva

Masters Candidate, Art History

The Graduate College Master’s Travel Award allowed me to travel to Spain to view original art and access literature unavailable in the United states for my Master’s Thesis project entitled “Misery, Alienation and ‘the Delinquent Gypsy’ in Turn-of-the-Century Spanish Painting.”

My fascination with Spanish art dates back to the year 2006 when I first became exposed to it as an undergraduate, taking the Spanish art seminar. This funding allowed me to study “the gypsy paintings” of Isidre Nonell. These works are key to the understanding of the nineteenth-century perception of the “other” that largely shaped contemporary immigration policies with regards to Roma. This study will form the basis for my PhD research and would not have been possible without the travel award.

Michael Elwell

MFA '11 Art and Industrial Design

For my MFA project, I designed a crib to reduce the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed. The funds from the Master’s Travel Award were used to take a full-size prototype to a focus group at Cribs for Kids (PA) for product testing. Cribs for Kids is a safe-sleep campaign with 250 programs in 47 states. They assembled a focus group of mothers and experts to offer feedback on the crib design.

Since graduating, the crib project assisted by the Graduate College travel award continues to go well. I presented it at the new faculty show at the University of Notre Dame where I am now a visiting professor of Industrial Design.

Gerry and Jim Bellanca

Gerry and Jim Bellanca


Michael Elwell

Michael Elwell
MFA '11 Art and Industrial Design
Crib Design



The infant sleeps in the bassinet side until it is 15 pounds, and then the product is flipped over, and the infant sleeps in the deeper crib side. The mattress and support are made out of a mesh and filter material to allow for maximum breathability, hopefully reducing the chances of SIDS and ASSB. The crib has no moving parts that could break or malfunction over time.