Gift establishes graduate fellowships in forensic anthropology

By Ann Friou
University News Service
March 6, 2008

A gift of $100,000 from Grady Early, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science Emeritus at Texas State University-San Marcos, has established an endowment for graduate fellowships in forensic anthropology.

The Grady G. Early Fellowship in Forensic Anthropology is the first graduate fellowship endowment to be established in the Department of Anthropology.  The endowment will provide stipends for several graduate students each year to conduct research projects at Texas State’s new Forensic Research Facility, located at the Freeman Ranch near San Marcos.  The first fellowship recipient will be announced in March.

“We believe that these fellowships will encourage the quality and creativity of research that forensic anthropology students in our master’s program will be able to conduct,” said Department of Anthropology Chair Jon McGee.  “In turn, those students will be better prepared to start careers in forensic anthropology or to continue their educations at the Ph.D. level.”

Early, who retired in 2000 after almost three decades of teaching math and computer science at Texas State, has been an enthusiastic supporter of Texas State’s forensic anthropology program for many years.  Early also makes land available on his San Marcos-area ranch for graduate research projects in forensic anthropology and for training students and law enforcement officials in search and recovery procedures.

“I enjoy having the students come out, and my first thought was to give our graduate students a little help,” Early said. “But the research is important, too, because it aids the law enforcement community in their efforts to identify human remains.”

“As a result of Dr. Early’s generous donation to the forensic anthropology program at Texas State, graduate student research will be funded and conducted at our newly acquired Forensic Research Facility,” said Michelle Hamilton, director of the facility.  “The results of this research will assist us in understanding problems in the identification of unknown human remains, and in estimating time-since-death intervals—especially here in Texas.”

Texas State announced in February that it would locate the open-air lab at the Freeman Ranch.  The facility, only the third of its kind in the nation, will be the nation’s largest such facility and the only one west of the Mississippi River.  Research done at the facility by graduate students and scientists will provide new information on the processes of human decomposition—information that will assist the law enforcement community in identifying human bodies and establishing the time and nature of death. It will also provide training in the identification of skeletal and dental remains. Workshops for law enforcement at the facility will include crime scene training, human identification, cadaver dog training and numerous other workshops.