Dr. David Krause
During his many years of leading groundbreaking field investigations of Madagascar’s rich fossil fields, David Krause, Distinguished Service Professor of Anatomical Sciences at Stony Brook, discovered something else: that the local villagers were among the most abandoned and destitute people in the world, with no opportunities for healthcare or education for their children.
“Our long field seasons allowed us to get to know these children very well,” said Dr. Krause. “And one of the saddest things is to find that some have died between our field seasons from easily treatable illnesses.”
In a 1996 meeting with the village elders about how he could help, they told him their priority was to educate their children, but they needed $500 to hire a teacher for the year. Dr. Krause returned to his camp and raised all the money for the teacher’s salary on the spot. “It was a no-brainer,” he said.
Over the next 15 years, the Madagascar Ankizy (ankizy means “children” in Malagasy) Fund established by Dr. Krause paid for five village schools , a renovated orphanage, and numerous freshwater wells. Still, the most lasting impact of the Fund, said Dr. Krause, is a new spirit of hope among the villagers. One of the first Malagasy school graduates, for instance, opted , as a young teenager, to defer family life to continue her education; she is now an accountant. “It’s a big step up from living in a 10 x 12-foot shack with a dirt floor and grass walls and struggling daily to survive,” said Dr. Krause.
When on campus, Dr. Krause teaches a human anatomy course to first-year dental students. Thanks to the Ankizy Fund, many of his students visit Madagascar during their summer break to provide critically needed dental care. Every student returning from Madagascar, says Dr. Krause, considers his or her experience to be “life-changing.” As a result, many commit themselves to a career of service; some even enroll in Stony Brook’s Master’s in Public Health program.
Recently, Dr. Krause himself made a generous pledge, which will be matched by the Jim and Marilyn Simons Challenge Grant, and will be used to sustain the core operations and growth of the village schools. This dedication to the greater good is in the DNA of Stony Brook, and Dr. Krause sees a direct connection between his lifelong study of Madagascar’s past with Stony Brook’s future.
“I’m extremely proud to have been a faculty member at Stony Brook for almost 30 years. But, my gift is about much more than that; it reflects my desire to ensure that Stony Brook continues to become even better.”