In 2013, I endowed in perpetuity the first student research fellowship in the Department of Astronomy at Wellesley College. Its goal was to encourage student investigation and careers in astronomy.
The fellowship was named in honor of Annie Jump Cannon who received her BS in 1884 at Wellesley College. Later, in 1894, she became interested in the spectra of stars while studying with Professor Sarah Whiting, the first director of Wellesley’s Whitin Observatory and Department of Astronomy. Thereafter she joined the Harvard College Observatory and in 1897 became a research assistant under one Dr. E. C. Pickering, where she remained for her entire career. In 1940, she was promoted to professorship as the William Cranch Bond Astronomer.
Her investigative career was notable as the first astronomer to systematically categorize and classify stars employing a method established by William Fleming. With Edward Pickering, she classified 400,000 stars according to their stellar spectra and temperature, among other notable discoveries. She published a nine volume catalog detailing about 225,999 stars which is considered today still as a major reference. She was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Oxford University.