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Giving Priorities


Steward Observatory and the Department of Astronomy Overview

For over a century, the diverse and talented students, staff, and faculty of the Steward Observatory and the Department of Astronomy have explored the Universe together and shared what we have learned with the entire world through our educational and outreach programs.  The students and post-doctoral researchers we have trained, and our faculty, have helped prove the existence of dark matter, discovered that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating, and made the first image of the event horizon of a massive black hole.  We are the only University to have designed and built a major instrument for more than one of NASA’s great observatories.  We currently operate many of the world’s leading and largest telescopes and are the host of the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, the innovative source of the world’s largest mirrors for telescopes.  Together with our partners, we are designing and building the next generation of giant space and ground based telescopes (including the Giant Magellan Telescope, with a 25m diameter primary mirror comprised of seven of our 8.4m mirrors) that will enable us, in the next decade, to search for signs of life on planets around distant stars and to study the time of the formation of first stars in our Universe. 

Make a Gift to the Astronomy Dept

Funds will support undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral fellows who are an integral part of the team of astronomers.  

We have large and high-quality programs at the undergraduate and graduate student level. All of our students have full access to all our facilities, including observatories and computing resources, to pursue their research, together with our amazing faculty, or independently. This is nearly unique in the world, the opportunity for our students to pursue their ideas at such an early stage of their careers. During the most formative stages of their development, we provide them the opportunity to both succeed and fail, over and over again, as they develop into independent and innovative leaders of research programs.

Make a Gift for Academic Excellence

Our students leave Steward Observatory with the skills, experience, and confidence necessary to tackle challenging problems. The opportunities we provide to our students cost them nothing beyond their effort and commitment, but they are not free. To enable them to ask and answer their own original questions, we need funds. We need to provide new software or filters or other tools that the students and post-docs need to pursue their education and research.


Astronomy Interational Student Travel Fund

Funds go to support travel and miscellaneous expenses for UA astronomy undergraduate, graduate or post docs for travel abroad to study or attend conferences.  Make a Gift


Friends of Steward Observatory

Every dollar donated goes directly to support the undergraduate and graduate students in the Astronomy Department and Steward Observatory.

  • Student Scholarships
  • Support of summer work projects
  • Astronomy Club activities
  • Gender Minorities (formerly Tucson Women in Astronomy)
  • Graduate Council group
  • Student attendance at professional conferences to present their research

Enriching the lives of students  Make a Gift


Enhancing Public Outreach

Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter and SkySchool, the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab tours, public lectures and astronomy camp are the four outstanding programs Steward Observatory offers to the public. Gifts for these programs maintain their excellent programming, enhance facilities and increase outreach.  


Scholarship and Endowment options:

Ruth McCutcheon Steward Observatory Postdoctoral Fellows Research Endowment

The fund has been established to support Steward Observatory Prize Postdoctoral Fellowships and/or augment and provide additional support for postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory. Receipients of these funds will acknowledge the endowment on their science papers. 

Ruth was an important part of our Steward/Astronomy community since she joined us as Director of Development for Steward Observatory in July of 2015.  During our four years working together, she was a dear friend and passionate supporter of everything we do at Steward. In recent years her efforts included supporting LPL and Planetary Sciences, as well as the College of Science and the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization.  Make a Gift 


Peter Strittmatter Post Doctorate Fellowship in Astronomy and Astrophysics

This fellowship will be awarded to a doctoral candidate to purse whatever research objectives are possible in partnership with the faculty at Steward and its ancillary facilities.

Peter Strittmatter was director of Steward Observatory for 38 years. Under his leadership, the department built the Multiple Mirror Telescope (MMT), the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), the Submillimeter Telescope (SMT), and the Magellan telescopes, and is playing a major role in the creation of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). Make a Gift


Peter Wehinger Fellowship Fund

This fund will support fellowships that enable educational and research activities for graduate students in the Department of Astronomy/Steward Observatory. Fellowships will be awarded to current candidates or accepted graduate students in the Department of Astronomy. The selected meritorious graduate student(s) must demonstrate exceptional and/or creative work.

Peter Wehinger (1938-2015), Steward Observatory Astronomer and Development Officer, worked at the University of Arizona from 1995 to 2012. He played a role in establishing the Arizona Astronomy Board, creating the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter and assisting students in obtaining scholarships funds.  Make a Gift



Father George Coyne, SJ, memorial and donation  information


Make a Donation by Check:

  • Make check payable The University of Arizona Foundation

  • In the memo section indicate which program you are donating to


Mail check to:

Cathi Duncan, Development Manager

Steward Observatory

933 N. Cherry Ave, N122

Tucson, Arizona 85721 


For Your Taxes:

Your gift is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law according to section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Our tax identification number is 86-6050388. The UA Foundation promptly sends a tax receipt by mail for all gifts of $10 or more.


Questions:  contact Cathi Duncan, Development Manager,  520-621-1320