Long Foundations support Universo

23 August 2000

AUSTIN, Texas: Mr. Joe R. Long and Dr. Teresa Lozano Long of Austin, through the Long Foundations, have made a $100,000 gift to McDonald Observatory to support the innovative Universo radio program.

Started in 1995 with a grant from the National Science Foundation, Universo is a daily two-minute Spanish-language radio program on astronomy heard on 175 radio stations in the U.S. and Central and South America, with 3.5 million listeners each week. Produced in the studios of KXCR-FM in El Paso, it is the most widely syndicated daily Spanish-language program on any subject in the United States, airing in markets that are home to 90 percent of the Spanish-speaking population in the U.S. Universo is the sister program of StarDate radio, which has 5.7 million weekly listeners across the country.

Says McDonald Observatory Director Dr. Frank Bash, "This generous gift from Joe and Teresa Long through the Long Foundations helps advance one of strongest goals for the observatory and the University of Texas at Austin. It allows us to reach out to young people throughout Texas and the country and excite them about the world around us, so that they will become interested in careers in science and technology."

Universo also includes a web site (http://universo.utexas.edu) that draws hundreds of visits each week. In addition, it encompasses teacher’s materials used by hundreds of teachers with tens of thousands of students each year. Recent sponsors include the American Honda Foundation; Harcourt General Corporation, based in Boston and San Antonio; National Instruments, Inc., of Austin; and the American Astronomical Society.

Says Robert W. Milkey, Executive Officer of the American Astronomical Society, "Universo is instrumental in improving science literacy in the Spanish speaking population of the United States and in inspiring talented youth in this community to pursue careers in science. The increasing use of minority talent will be essential in increasing the strength of the country's technical workforce for the new century."

McDonald Observatory is currently seeking a national sponsor for Universo: A national sponsor for Universo could gain daily access to Universo’s audience of technologically curious listeners, who would hear a 15-second sponsorship message as an integral part of 180 two-minute programs each year. The Universo web site and classroom materials also present opportunities for sponsorship. National sponsorship costs $180,000 per year.

"This gift from the Long Foundations continues their wonderful tradition of support for The University of Texas, the arts, and our community," adds Bash.