Making it Easier for the Next Generation

Jan. 22, 2013

My husband, Philip Krider, and I have strived to support the University of Arizona through our teaching, research, and service. In turn, the UA has provided us with meaningful, ever-evolving careers.

Giving back is a natural outgrowth of this relationship.

We came to the UA in different eras, and for different reasons.

After graduating from Carleton College in Minnesota, Philip applied to three graduate schools to study physics – Florida, Hawaii, and Arizona. (Note the theme: no snow!)

His master’s thesis was on the temperature of lightning, and he searched for quarks in the cosmic radiation to complete his doctorate. While a post-doctoral researcher at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, the Apollo 12 spacecraft was struck twice by lightning during launch. Because of this, Philip returned to lightning research at the UA, where he has remained to this day. In 1986, he became head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and director of its research arm, the Institute of Atmospheric Physics.

Mentors and colleagues at the UA encouraged Philip to develop a new sensing method to detect and locate lightning that strikes the ground. As a result, he created a Tucson company to test and improve these sensors, and to use their data in a host of applications. The company is now a subsidiary of Vaisala, a world-leader in meteorological instrumentation that also provides real-time maps of lightning throughout the world.

Meanwhile, I finished my doctorate at the University of Wisconsin and thought Arizona would be a good place to begin a professional career in sociology.

I’d planned to go elsewhere after a few years, but the UA just called to me as the place where I could pursue my passions, creativity and initiatives. Today, I’m dean of the Honors College. I still love teaching undergraduates – helping them learn how to think and contribute to their worlds in different ways.

My interest in women’s studies kept me here, where my focus evolved into the sociologies of women and sexuality. As part of this interdisciplinary effort, I helped women’s studies grow into a department, offering a major, a master’s, and now a doctoral degree. My colleagues in gender and women’s studies helped me get one of the first research grants in the Southwest Institute for Research on Women.

My sister was a dancer and a teacher, so Philip and I started a scholarship in her name in the dance program. I wanted to honor her on what would have been her 40th birthday. Later, when we could give more, we invested in physics, the guitar program and The Honors College Study Abroad Endowment, all in an effort to help young people pursue their dreams.

Being a professor is unique because it encourages discovery and continuous learning in a community that, for us, has included our families, teachers, mentors, students and colleagues. We hope our gifts can make it easier for the next generation to experience a lifetime of learning, too.

Photo credit: David Scott Allen

By Patricia MacCorquodale, the UA Honors College dean. To learn more about endowed gifts, contact Donor Services at 520-621-9076 or This essay was originally featured in the UA Foundation's 2012 Annual and Endowment Report.