Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU alumnus gives $30,000 for graduate student research

January 28, 2021

Graduate students in Indiana State University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Systems will have new opportunities to pursue research thanks to the generosity of alumnus Dr. L. Michael Trapasso.

His newly established endowment and $30,000 gift will have a profound impact on graduate student experiences, much like the meteorological impacts on the environment that he has devoted his life to studying.

The Dr. L. Michael Trapasso Research Grant will enable graduate students in the Department of Earth and Environmental Systems to pursue research opportunities without financial difficulty.

“Dr. Trapasso's donation will create many opportunities for our graduate students in the Earth and Environmental Systems Department,” assistant professor Alex Badillo said. “Support, especially at the graduate level, is extremely important for future success as a scholar and as a professional. Dr. Trapasso's gift will most certainly have quite an impact on our graduate students' research and future careers.”

Trapasso’s gift is inspired by his own climb toward success. He began saving for college at age 14, working after school, on weekends, and on summer vacation to earn his way to higher education.

“My fortunes turned for the better with various scholarships and assistantships,” Trapasso said. “These opportunities allowed my education to continue. Without these turns of good fortune, I would not have achieved my goals. Creating this research grant is my way of giving a deserving student a turn of good fortune.”

Ken Menefee, Executive Director of Planned and Principal Gifts, said, “Dr. Trapasso was fortunate to receive scholarships and assistantships in pursuit of his academic degrees, and he is passionate about helping students achieve their goals through his gift to ISU. Through the establishment of his fund, he is able to give back to his alma mater, help students, and support the fields of climatology, remote sensing, geographic information systems, water resources, and paleoclimatology.”

Trapasso earned his Doctorate in 1980 from Indiana State University’s Department of Geography and Geology, after earning a bachelor’s degree at State University of New York at Buffalo and a master’s degree from Indiana University.

Trapasso taught at Western Kentucky University for nearly 35 years, serving as the Director of both the Meteorological Technology Program and the College Heights Weather Station. He has had numerous publications and presentations in his career, including co-authoring a textbook, Physical Geography. He currently serves as Curator of the College Heights Weather Instrument Museum.

“Dr. Trapasso's contributions to his field are expansive and admirable,” said Chris Olsen, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We are extremely thankful for Dr. Trapasso’s generous contribution to support graduate students in the Department of Earth and Environmental Systems. His gift will provide opportunities for graduate students to pursue their research and academic goals."

In addition to his academic accolades, Trapasso is an award-winning photographer. His love of geography has allowed him to explore all seven continents, and his gift will enrich the lives of students in similar ways.

“Now and then, a hard-working student needs a break,” Trapasso said. “I only regret the monetary value of this grant is not greater.”

Photo of Dr. L. Michael Trapasso

Media contacts:

Mark Alesia, Director of University Communication

(O) 812-237-3837

(C) 812-229-8020

Dianne Powell, Associate Director of University Communication

(O) 812-237-8764

(C) 812-878-2131