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SBC Foundation supports Universo radio outreach for science education

The SBC Foundation has made a $150,000 gift to The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory to support Universo, the innovative daily, two-minute Spanish-language radio program on astronomy.

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AUSTIN, Texas—The SBC Foundation has made a $150,000 gift to The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory to support Universo, the innovative daily, two-minute Spanish-language radio program on astronomy.

Universo, which began in 1995 with a grant from the National Science Foundation, is heard on 156 radio stations in the United States, Central America and South America. It attracts 3.5 million listeners each week. It is the most widely syndicated daily Spanish-language program on any subject in the United States, airing in markets that are home to 90 percent of the nation’s Spanish-speaking population. Universo is the sister program of StarDate radio, which has 5.7 million weekly listeners across the country.

Nancy Gerval, president of the SBC Foundation, said: "This is an important educational program that reaches one of the fastest-growing segments of our diverse community. We are pleased to support a project that is in keeping with our corporate commitment to strengthening our communities while getting young people energized about career opportunities in the fields of science and technology."

Dr. Frank Bash, McDonald Observatory director, said: "This generous gift from the SBC Foundation helps advance one of the most important goals for the observatory and UT Austin. It allows us to reach out to young people throughout Texas and the country and excite them about the world around us, so that they will become interested in careers in science and technology.

"This gift from the SBC Foundation continues a wonderful tradition of support for UT Austin, for education and for our community," Bash said. "Millions of people each week will learn more about our universe because of this support."

The grant from the SBC Foundation will help support production and distribution of Universo nationwide in 2001 and 2002.

The SBC Foundation is an independent foundation funded by SBC Communications Inc. and its family of companies. The SBC Foundation addresses community needs in education, economic development, health, human services, culture and the arts. Since its formation in 1984, the SBC Foundation has distributed nearly $600 million in grants, United Way support and employee outreach programs.

Universo features a Web site at <http://Universo.utexas.edu> and provides teaching materials used by hundreds of teachers with tens of thousands of students each year. Recent sponsors of Universo include the Long Foundations, the American Honda Foundation, Harcourt General Corp., National Instruments Inc. of Austin and the American Astronomical Society.

For more information, contact: Joel Barna, development officer at the McDonald Observatory at (512) 471-6335 or e-mail <jwbarna@astro.as.utexas.edu>