Henry M. Rowan Family Foundation transforms engineering education at Rowan University -- again

December 23, 2013

Henry M. Rowan and his family once again will transform engineering education.

Two decades after industrialist Henry Rowan and his late wife, Betty, gave $100 million to then-Glassboro State College (now Rowan University, Glassboro, N.J.) to create a College of Engineering that established a new model for undergraduate engineering education, the Henry M. Rowan Family Foundation continues to set the bar for engineering education. The Foundation has given the Rowan College of Engineering the initial funding to establish a new doctoral program at Rowan University. The recent gift provides $300,000 to establish the Henry Rowan Engineering Ph.D. Fellowship Program and $100,000 to initiate the Henry Rowan Engineering Globalization Fellowship Program for Undergraduates.

"The College of Engineering has proven itself to be an excellent steward of our family's gifts. These new Ph.D. and Globalization programs will provide more opportunities for students at all levels and will further distinguish Rowan Engineering as a leader in the field," said Virginia Rowan Smith, vice president of the Henry M. Rowan Family Foundation. A strong advocate for Rowan University, Rowan Smith currently is serving her third term on the University's Board of Trustees and is chairman of the Board's university advancement committee.

With this funding, the College is able to establish its first Ph.D. program. Similar to the first class of engineering undergraduate students, the initial group of Ph.D. fellows will receive full stipend and tuition support by the gift from the Rowan family. The Ph.D. Fellowship Program will enable the College of Engineering to recruit top-level doctoral students by providing support for an inaugural cohort, consisting of one student from each of the College's five disciplines--biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering. The doctoral program will be unlike most traditional doctoral programs in the United States and will be modeled on the College's unique undergraduate Engineering Clinic format, which places heavy emphasis not only on conducting cutting-edge research but also on developing new technologies. The new Ph.D. program will foster greater ties with Rowan's industry and government partners while providing students with intensive applied research experiences.

The Henry Rowan Engineering Globalization Fellowship Program for Undergraduates will provide opportunities for select undergraduate engineering students to study abroad at select universities and to complete industrial internships at corporate sites around the world, including those of subsidiaries of Inductotherm Group -- the firm Mr. Rowan founded -- as well as at other leading technology companies. The international educational and work experience will provide Rowan engineering students with an advantage in an increasingly global technological society.

According to Dr. Ali Houshmand, president of Rowan University, the generosity of the Rowans has had an enduring impact on the school and the area. "When Henry and Betty Rowan made their historic $100-million gift to our school in 1992, they started the transformation of our campus and made an important investment in our school, our region and in engineering education in our country," Houshmand said. "That the Henry M. Rowan Family Foundation continues to support innovative programs here demonstrates the family's belief in both our accomplishments and our goals. Their generosity will have an impact on generations to come."

The College of Engineering dean, Dr. Anthony Lowman, noted that the latest contribution will impact Rowan Engineering in several ways, helping transform the College from a strong regional undergraduate engineering school to an internationally recognized, comprehensive College, as it prepares to open a new $76-million facility in 2016 that will dramatically increase the educational and research space of the College.

"We would not be able to start the Ph.D. program at this time without this support," Lowman said. "Furthermore, the fact that Mr. Rowan provided the initial support has certainly motivated us to develop a world-class Ph.D. program that rivals in quality our undergraduate program."

"The College of Engineering has been tremendously successful at rethinking engineering education," said Henry Rowan. "The new Ph.D. and Globalization Fellowship programs once again offer unique perspectives and approach."

Starting with Henry and Betty Rowan, three generations of the Rowan family have made a commitment to the institution, which will graduate its first engineering doctoral students almost 20 years after its first undergraduate students in 2000.

"The Rowan family members' dedication extends beyond their generous financial assistance," said R.J. Tallarida Jr., associate vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Rowan University Foundation. "Virginia Rowan Smith, her husband Manning Smith III, and their son, Manning Smith IV, serve on the Rowan University Board of Trustees, South Jersey Technology Park Board and Alumni Association Board, respectively. They are true stakeholders in all aspects of this University, and collectively their commitment of their time, expertise and talent helps ensure the University's excellence."
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