Emeritus Faculty and Wife Create Chair in Physics

Photo of George and Christine Gloecker
George and Christine Gloecker

Professor Emeritus George Gloecker joined UMD as an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 1967. He became a pioneer in the field of space physics, initiating ground-breaking discoveries and inventing instruments for satellites and deep space probes. His exemplary research led to his election to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences in 1997. While Dr. Gloecker retired in 2006, he remains active in the academic community. His wife Christine forged a successful career in computer programming and worked for many years at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

After their longtime friend and UMD colleague, astrophysicist Frank McDonald, passed unexpectedly in 2012, the Gloecklers created a charitable gift annuity to fund the Frank McDonald Graduate Summer Research Award. The annuity allowed them to make a charitable contribution to honor McDonald while receiving a source of income in retirement for the remainder of their lives. “Frank saw the budding potential in people, which is something we wanted to encourage,” says Christine.

The Gloecklers have also included the University in their estate plan and designated a portion of their estate to create the George and Christine Gloeckler Endowed Chair in Physics. They wanted to support the department where Dr. Gloeckler built his career, knowing a university is dependent on the quality of its faculty. “The best professors attract the best students. We hope this endowed chair will enhance the department’s reputation and help other promising faculty members to be successful,” says Dr. Gloeckler.

They informed UMD of their bequest because they knew their gift would be greatly appreciated, and it ensures the fund will be administered according to their wishes. “I’ve been a penny pincher ever since I had a penny,” adds Dr. Gloeckler, “but it’s easy to give it away.” These generous legacy gifts will also serve as an inspiration for others to give, helping to secure the future excellence of the University and its students for generations to come.


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