Rowan Marks 20th Anniversary of Industrialist's Huge Gift

On June 17, 1992, Henry Rowan donated $100 million to the school then known as Glassboro State College. The school was renamed in his honor.

(Editor's note: Today marks the 20th anniversary of Henry Rowan's gift to the school in Glassboro that now bears his name. Rowan University submitted the following press release regarding the anniversary.)

On June 17, Rowan University marks the 20th anniversary of the transformational $100 million gift that Burlington County businessman and philanthropist Henry Rowan and his late wife, Betty, pledged in 1992 to then-Glassboro State College (GSC).

For 20 years, the institution now known as Rowan University has been marking milestones, projects and collaborations barely dreamed of, let alone hoped for, two decades ago.

When he made the then-unprecedented donation to a public school, Henry Rowan had just one stipulation. The founder, president and CEO of Inductotherm Industries, Inc. and an alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Henry Rowan asked that GSC build an engineering college in South Jersey and revitalize engineering education. 
Rowan University did that with remarkable success, graduating its first engineering class in 2000. The College of Engineering offers its hallmark engineering clinics, providing students with hands-on experiences starting in their freshman year. That approach was unusual at the time the College was founded—programs typically started hands-on work two years later—but it is widely emulated now. Today U.S. News & World Report consistently places the College among the top 25 undergraduate engineering programs in the country (bachelor’s/master’s category), and several of its programs have ranked in the top 10 in their field; Chemical Engineering, for instance, has been ranked in second or third place nationally for multiple years. Professors frequently lead national and international organizations, committees and subcommittees in their areas of specialty. Students regularly work on projects for NASA, the U.S. Navy, state offices and Fortune 500 companies, among hundreds of organizations. 
The Rowan gift did much more for the institution, however, than create a College of Engineering. It paved the way for broader initiatives, spurred other individuals and companies to donate to the school and continually attracted more and more competitive students into programs in more than a half-dozen colleges that comprise the University.
At the time it was made, the Rowan gift was the largest donation ever given to a public school. 

“Mr. and Mrs. Rowan’s gift was unheard of at the time and caused quite a stir in academic and philanthropic circles,” said Rowan President Dr. Ali A. Houshmand, who came to the University as provost more than a decade after the gift was made. “To say we were—and are—simply grateful would be an understatement and do a disservice to the Rowan family’s generosity. Their pledge to this school has transformed it. Yes, it enabled us to start an engineering school. And that school enabled more collaborations, greater funding and indeed I believe led us to co-founding Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, among many other initiatives in the last two decades.”
Highlights at the University since 1992 include:

• The institution attained university status and added colleges. As of July 1, Rowan will comprise nine colleges: Business, Communication & Creative Arts, Education, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, Performing Arts, Science & Mathematics, Graduate & Continuing Education and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.

• Rowan has enhanced and expanded numerous programs, including the honors program endowed by Thomas N. Bantivoglio.

• Rowan has partnered with the Borough of Glassboro and SORA Holdings on the $300 million, mixed-use Rowan Boulevard project.

• Rowan will open Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU) in collaboration with Cooper Health System this summer. CMSRU is the first new four-year medical school in New Jersey in three decades and the first ever in South Jersey.

• The University will open a School of Biomedical Sciences this summer.

• Nearly 22,000 new donors have invested in Rowan University, supporting scholarships, facilities, academic programs and more. Those donors include:

   • The William G. Rohrer Charitable Foundation (more than $12 million for the College of Business, including scholarships and the University’s first endowed chair)

    • Keith and Shirley Campbell ($1.5 million for the library)

    • Lawrence and Rita Salva ($1.18 million in scholarship support for the medical school and the College of Communication)

    • Ric and Jean Edelman (more than $1 million for the planetarium in Science Hall)

    • Ann (Buffy) Campbell ($1 million to the College of Business for an endowed chair)

    • Frank DiCicco ($1 million for scholarships for math students)

    • Thomas N. Bantivoglio ($1 million for the honors program)

    • Samuel H. Jones ($1 million for the South Jersey Technology Park at Rowan University)

    • Douglas Zee (land gift valued at $1 million)

    • The Charles & Lucille King Family Foundation, Inc. ($1 million to the College of Communication for an endowed chair)

    • The Rowan Family Foundation (additional funds to support special programs in engineering, scholarships and the fine and performing arts)

Virginia Smith, daughter of Henry and Betty Rowan, Group vice president of Inductotherm Group and a member of the Rowan University Board of Trustees, said recently, “My father is not only pleased with the investment he and his family have made in this school but has also found it rewarding to see the profound difference this gift has made throughout the entire institution. The University has undergone an amazing transformation over the last 20 years, providing an extraordinary impact on students, faculty and staff, indeed, on the entire region of Glassboro and southern New Jersey."
Rowan University will mark the 20th anniversary of the Rowan gift in the fall with a formal ceremony. A special website created by the university includes the story behind the gift, photos and videos. 

Are you a Rowan alumnus? Tell us your thoughts on the gift in the Comments section below. 

Ric June 18, 2012 at 01:41 PM
This is so not a news story but it is pure PR BS. Local Democrat Boss and Demi-God George Norcross wants to make his attempt to steal Rutgers – Camden seem as less a theft that it really is. Giving Rutgers – Camden to Rowan makes no more sense that it would to give Rutgers – Camden to Camden Co. Community College. Rowan is a third tier college and not in the same high league as Rutgers. Political boss Norcross has already ruined Cooper Hospital. He is trying to turn Cooper into a world class hospital by using cheap PR tricks. In order to keep their statics looking perfect, Cooper is turning away any patient that carries any sort of risk to keep their mortality rates pretty. They will only operate on patients that Cooper is sure will survive. Several years ago Cooper canceled my elderly father’s cardiac surgery at the last minute to keep their statics looking good. Luckily, the University Of Pennsylvania hospital cares to save lives and not statics and they successfully operated on my father. I would not go to Cooper Hospital for any reason. Anyone notice that a huge tract of land that used to be the Pennsauken Mart is still vacant six years later? Boss Norcross is responsible for that failure. Now he wants to do the same thing to Rutgers – Camden. Just say No Rutgers – Camden to Norcross. He is a political Boss just like Jersey City’s late Mayor Hague. Do not turn Rutgers – Camden into another Pennsauken Mart.
David Vaccaro June 20, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Ric/Roland W., Here a member of the one percent that does something selfless and all some can do is hunt down the fly in the ointment. What do most of the 99% do other than leave this earth having gathered IOU's for everything from excess social security payments to Medicare and Medicaid payments deficits. The rich in this country pay the lion's share of everything and that's on top of supplying most of the jobs. The system, as designed by Democrats, allows losers to feel like they've been paying their own way. Can't we just say thank you Mr. and Mrs. Rowan for your generosity?


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