Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2012, 9:23 am

Prof leaves $476,00 to geography department he founded

Comment on this story

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) The man who started the geography department at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville more than four decades ago didn't forget that department before he died.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Melvin Kazeck bequeathed $476,000 to the university for the department he had chaired. Kazek died in February,

He developed the department in 1958 and retired in 1976. It now has a dozen faculty members, eight graduate assistants, and four assistants.

The department's chairwoman, Gillian Acheson, calls Kazek's gift 'so thoughtful because it will directly benefit students.'

The university's dean of the college of arts and sciences, Aldemaro Romano, says the gift will fund two more graduate assistantships for the department.

The university has about 120 undergraduate geography majors and 30 to 40 students pursuing master's degrees.