Rowan University Marks 20th Anniversary Of $100 Million Gift; Honors Henry Rowan With Sculpture

Dec 06, 2012, 11:11 ET from Rowan University

GLASSBORO, N.J., Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Henry Rowan started making industrial furnaces in his basement. He went on to change the face of education in a discipline, in a college and in New Jersey.

The background

Twenty years ago, in the summer of 1992, Mr. Rowan and his late wife, Betty, contributed $100 million to then-Glassboro State College, a well-known local school that had its roots in teacher education.

That $100 million was the largest gift made to that date to a public institution, and news of it reverberated throughout the higher education and philanthropic communities.

Mr. Rowan had no ties to Glassboro State College; he was an MIT graduate. What he did have was a request  -- that the school improve engineering education -- and the belief that it was important to invest his money where it could best serve the most people.

The mid-size college, which went on to be named after the Rowans and to gain university status, did not let him down.

What the gift achieved

Rowan University's College of Engineering, intent on a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to learning, pioneered engineering clinics, which propel students into the thick of real engineering work from their first semester (unlike most colleges, which wait until junior year). A few short years after its founding, the College started appearing in the upper echelons of U.S. News & World Report lists, with its Chemical Engineering program routinely ranking second or third in the nation among bachelor's/master's schools. The National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Navy, state organizations, Fortune 500 companies and local businesses have sponsored research at the college. Professors lead national and international professional groups. Students land jobs across the nation and enter premier graduate programs, from Penn State to Stanford.

If the story stopped there, it would be impressive. Few people in such a short time can be responsible for the creation of an award-winning, accredited college.

Where the University is going

But the Rowan Gift story does not stop there. Today, directly or indirectly thanks to what the Rowans set in motion, the University:

  • Founded Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, the first four-year medical school in New Jersey in more than 35 years, opened this summer in Camden, N.J., with Cooper University Health Care.
  • Plans to absorb the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, N.J., which will make Rowan only the second school in the nation with both M.D.- and D.O.-granting medical schools under its aegis.
  • Attained state research status, becoming only the second public comprehensive university in New Jersey to do so.
  • Anticipates creating a College of Biomedical Sciences in Camden, N.J., in collaboration with Rutgers-Camden.
  • Founded the South Jersey Technology Park at Rowan University 1.5 miles from the main campus, home to 16 sponsored research labs and the Rohrer College of Business Incubator.
  • Developed extensive programs for K-12 students and teachers, particularly in science, technology, engineering and math fields, all critical to the country's technological standing and economic well-being.
  • Inspired numerous new donors to contribute to Rowan University, many at the $1 million and higher level.
  • Contributes more significantly to the economy of the region in several ways, including partnerships; job creation; and educating students for well-paying, locally based positions.
  • Partnered on the $300-million Rowan Boulevard redevelopment project with the Borough of Glassboro and private developers, bringing a Barnes & Noble, housing for more than 1,300 students, retail outlets and more to a corridor linking the campus to the town.

More information is available at

On December 13, Rowan University will honor its largest benefactor with a program and the unveiling on campus of a larger-than-life-size sculpture made in one of Henry Rowan's very own furnaces.

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SOURCE Rowan University