Rowan University set to honor its namesake

Rowan University set to honor its namesake

By DIANE D?AMICO Education Writer, (609) 272-7241, E-Mail

GLASSBORO - You really can't thank someone too much when they've given you $100 million.

Rowan University will recognize the 10th anniversary of the $100 million endowment by Henry and Betty Rowan with a reception at 4 p.m. today at Wilson Hall.

"It's a chance to talk about how the gift has changed what we are," college spokesman Joe Cardona said.

Rowan, founder of Inductotherm Industries, said in July 1992 that he wanted his money to make a difference. His main stipulation was that the college develop an engineering school.

The $28 million engineering building opened in 1998 and the first engineering class graduated in 2000, with Rowan as the commencement speaker.

He said then that the college's accomplishments had exceeded his expectations.

"Henry Rowan made it possible for a good state college to transform itself into a great university," said Philip Tumminia, executive vice president for university advancement, and the man responsible for convincing the Rowans to make the donation.

The endowment was not without controversy. The decision by the Board of Trustees to change the college's name from Glassboro State College to Rowan College angered some alumni.

To date the college has received $67 million of the endowment, which was designed to be phased in over an 11-year period, with a final payment in 2003.

Rowan's donation also has helped generate other gifts. The college has since received about $8 million from other private donors, six of which were at least $1 million.

"It does give me credibility with other prospective donors," Tumminia said. "Henry Rowan raised the bar. His gift put us on the map and gave us momentum."

The college's endowment, which stood at $500,000 in 1992, has grown to about $97 million, among the largest in the country for a public college.

Tumminia believes that if public colleges want to remain competitive they will have to make private fund-raising an integral part of their operations.

"State aid is wonderful," he said. "But no public institution can become truly great depending solely on government funding. You need the state, you need tuition, and you need private money."

And while the money is important, Tumminia said it is the opportunities the money has provided that have mattered the most.

Annual applications have increased from 4,030 for the fall of 1992 to 6,800 for fall 2002. The average SAT has increased from 950 to 1133.

"We are attracting top faculty and top students," Tumminia said. "We made a conscious decision to increase standards across the campus, and not just start an engineering school."

Today's reception is open to the public, and will last about an hour.

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Date Published: Monday, July 8, 2002 - 10:32
Source URL: Press of Atlantic City