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Shepherd University Observatory accepts extensive book collection

ISSUED: 3 March 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(Shepherd University Observatory accepts extensive book collection)

Shepherdstown, WV---The Shepherd University Observatory, part of the Institute of Environmental Studies and Physical Sciences at Shepherd, in conjunction with the Shepherd University Foundation, announces the receipt of 137 astronomy books and a telescope donated by Paula Shephard of Inwood, in memory of her late husband, Kenneth Richard Shephard. The collection and equipment will be stored in the Shepherd Observatory for student and faculty use and research.

A police officer for 15 years, Mr. Shephard was a student in Shepherd's Regents Bachelor of Arts (R.B.A.) program. The Philadelphia native was an avid Phillies fan and motorcyclist. According to his wife, he became fascinated by astronomy as a child watching TV shows such as "Star Trek" and "Space:1999." He also enjoyed collecting sci-fi memorabilia, leading to his significant collection of reference books on the subject.

According to Dr. Jason Best, professor of astronomy and physics, and director of the Shepherd University Observatory, the collection includes popular science books appropriate for the general public; numerous stellar, planetary, and galactic atlases; and texts appropriate for undergraduate and graduate students in astrophysics.

"The collection of books and accompanying telescope will supplement our numerous courses for students at all levels of astronomy, our research publication and presentation efforts, and our extensive outreach programs to K-12 schools and the general public," said Dr. Best. "Such generosity allows everyone impacted by Shepherd University Astronomy to 'keep looking up.'"

Completed in 2006, the Observatory was made possible by a Research Challenge Fund Science and Technology Award from the West Virginia Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (WV EPSCoR), obtained by Dr. Best in the form of an Innovation Grant. With a focus on ambitious, comprehensive innovations in laboratory and classroom settings, the Innovation Grants Program encourages undergraduate students in West Virginia to continue careers in science, math, and engineering.

For more information about making donations through the Shepherd University Foundation, please contact Monica Lingenfelter, Shepherd University Foundation, P.O. Box 5000, Shepherdstown, WV, 25443-5000, 304-876-5397, or visit


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Dr. Jason Best with a portion of the Shephard astronomy book collection.

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