The SOAR program began in 1998 as an effort to expand undergraduate research at the University. A gift from Morris and Karen Bader combined with funds from the University provided stipends for six students during the summer of 1998. Based on the success of this pilot program, continued funding was established through the University budget. From 1999 to 2005, the program supported three to five students per year, with the demand for these positions growing each year.
In 2006, Mrs. Priscilla Payne Hurd established the Ervin J. Rokke Endowment for Student-Faculty Research to honor Dr. Rokke’s service to Moravian University as President from 1997 to 2006. In combination with continued contributions from the college, this endowment allowed the SOAR summer research program to grow to support twenty to twenty-five students per summer.
The program has supported approximately 240 students across nearly 200 projects. Many of these students have presented their work at academic conferences, and in some cases the projects formed the basis for the student’s work in the Honors Program.