$1 million donation to math and computer science departments for endowed chair

The Ohio Wesleyan Department of Mathematics and Computer Science has received a $1 million donation from the

Beatrice K. McDowell. Photo courtesy of
Beatrice K. McDowell. Photo courtesy of

estate of the only female from the class of 1940 with a math degree.

Beatrice K. McDowell of Akron, Ohio, died Sept. 25, 2011, according to the Connect2OWU press release.

OWU president Rock Jones said because of legal problems with the estate, the donation wasn’t available to the university until now, four years after her death.

“The provision to [McDowell’s] last will and testament was made 15 years ago,” Jones said.

The donation will establish an endowed chair position within the math/CS department, Jones said. However, Jones said endowed chair positions have no power or authority.

“It’s essentially just an honor to receive the title of endowed chair,” said Jones. “They possess no power or authority. In the future, I’d like to make it so that these chairs have more power, however, right now, this is how it is.”

Jones explained that endowed chair positions are selected by the Faculty Personnel Committee (FPC), and by the Provost each spring.

Mark Schwartz, chair of the math/CS department, and professor of math at OWU, said there are plenty of things the money can be put toward.

The money, which Jones said will be 5 percent each year out of the $1 million, could be allocated to a number of different programs.

“We have several new programs, such as the travel learning course which goes to Alaska to study climate modeling, and this money will guarantee its future,” Schwartz said.

Some of the other programs the money will likely go toward, Schwartz said, include the Summer Science Research Program (SSRP), which is put on by the National Science Foundation.

OWU Provost Chuck Stinemetz said endowed chair positions are selected each spring, but declined to comment on whether or not this meant that this particular endowed chair position will be chosen this spring, as well.


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