Jim Stolzenbach ’76 (CLAS) is passionate about science and wants UConn students, particularly marginalized ones, to consider going into scientific fields. He also stands ready to help them.
Stolzenbach has made a bequest that will provide generous scholarships for students, particularly women and students from diverse backgrounds, who are pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) fields.
Stolzenbach, who built a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, believes science teaches students to think more critically, evaluate what’s true and false, and take a broader view of the world. In addition, he believes the field itself would benefit from a more diverse pool of scientists.
“Science is a great endeavor, but it’s also very important that it has a variety of thought,” he adds. “So, the lack of racial and gender diversity is an issue for science in general. Some of the best discoveries were made because someone came in with a different perspective. So, to me, it’s really intrinsic to the whole scientific enterprise that there’s a variety of people participating.”
Stolzenbach, who earned his master’s at University of Georgia and doctorate at Oregon State University, acknowledged that many jobs in science fields require graduate degrees, which can be an expensive endeavor. He hopes his scholarship will encourage students by at least defraying the cost of undergraduate education. He says he remembers how difficult it was to pay for college himself, noting that he worked as a resident advisor at UConn to help cover costs and spent years paying off his student loans.
Stolzenbach, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Hawthorn Woods, retired six years ago as a vice president in research and development at Abbvie. Since then, he started his own consulting business and is a partner in a small company developing a drug to treat kidney disease. He has two adult children and four grandchildren. His scholarship, the James and Christine Stolzenbach Scholarship, honors his late wife, Christine, who also had a career in the pharmaceutical industry and a passion for science.