10th year since gift to Rowan

10th year since gift to Rowan

Staff Writer

GLASSBORO -- Six years ago, Rowan University officials were faced with an interesting dilemma.

They had the promise of a $100 million gift to the school as long as they developed a successful engineering program. But, they had to attract top local high school students to a program that didn't yet exist.

So James H. Tracey, the college of engineering's founding dean, set out to local businesses to solicit money to support scholarships that would be used to entice students to choose a new, unaccredited engineering program at the school, which was known as Glassboro State.

The tool Tracey had to gain the confidence of local businesses, he said, was that same $100 million gift that industrialist Henry M. Rowan had promised to the university 10 years ago.

"When (Rowan) gave us the money, he also gave us his reputation," said Rowan University President Donald J. Farish told a group of the school's officials that were gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Henry and Betty Rowan's gift to the school.

Rowan, the 78-year-old president of the Rancocas-based manufacture Inductotherm, has paid about two-thirds of the gift to the university and plans to pay his final installment in 2003.

Since receiving the gift, officials have renamed the school, obtained university status, and focused its efforts on developing an engineering program, as well as improving other programs within the school.

"The pump is nearly primed," Farish said.

"At this point, all the good stuff is about to happen."

Rowan, who attended Williams College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, made three stipulations when he made the gift.

The school had to develop an engineering program, use $3 million to develop a scholarship program for employees of Rowan's company and manage the money through a foundation that was independent from the school.

While Rowan is pleased with the direction the school has taken, he thinks "the jury is still out on whether this is going to be a great institution or not."

It was Rowan's gift, Farish said, that allowed the school to grow to where it is today and attract more than $20 million in additional donations.

"I just hope that the future brings greatness to this area and to Rowan U.," Rowan said.

- Denise Jewell can be reached by e-mail at djewell@sjnewsco.com

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Date Published: Monday, July 9, 2001 - 01:00
Source URL: Gloucester County Times