Feature: Rising up

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Feature: Rising up

Rising up

From July 2014 through June 2020, more than 18,000 alumni, friends, faculty, staff, parents, students and corporate and foundation partners contributed to Rowan’s Rising campaign—supporting innovative teaching, learning and research.

Gifts of all sizes are making a lasting impact across the institution, helping to change students’ lives, support new discoveries and create inspired learning and living environments.

The success of Rising: The Campaign for Rowan University embodies the shared belief of our supporters in Rowan’s future and its mission to transform lives. Together, we are creating rising opportunities for generations to come.

Rising up by the numbers


Helping students find their PATH

In 2019, Paul S. Grand, Ph.D., and Sunitha Menon-Rudolph, Ph.D., established the Autism PATH (Preparation & Achievement of Transition to Hire) Program to help Rowan students on the autism spectrum achieve successful employment outcomes. Providing opportunities to develop career readiness and to network with faculty, professionals in the field, and their peers, the program helps neurodivergent students maximize their potential and make a smooth transition from classroom to career. In the 2019-20 academic year, the program acquired 50 participants and established numerous external partnerships.

Engineering a legacy of support

Since 2012, Catherine Ni ’00 and her husband, James, have funded engineering scholarships for 30 Rowan students. But in 2016, they decided to create an endowed scholarship to build a lasting legacy of support for engineering students with big dreams. “The foundational principles of Rowan have remained true,” said Catherine. “I owe a lot of where I am today to the University. If Henry Rowan didn’t do what he did, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do—and now this will be a way for us to do the same for others.”

Paying it forward

From 2015 to 2017, Robert O. Carr made a series of generous commitments to provide scholarships and mentoring to students who have faced economic hardship and other adversities. Since the 2017–2018 academic year, his Give Something Back Scholarships have provided 50 $5,000 awards to economically disadvantaged, academically talented students, with an additional 48 recipients for 2020–2021. The program is helping students graduate in four years with little or no debt and supports Rowan’s commitment to affordable, accessible education.

In the business of giving back

Established in 2016, the Bob and Deana Palmer Endowed Scholarship in Business has been awarded to three New Jersey students studying in the William G. Rohrer College of Business. In addition, the Palmers’ contribution supports the University’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, providing student volunteers with laptops to use as they provide free income tax preparation services for local residents. “I owe a lot to Rowan,” said Bob, a business graduate of the Class of 1988. “I’d been giving for so long. I was ready to do something more meaningful.”

Groundbreaking gift

In 2016, Jean ’81 and Ric Edelman ’80 committed $25 million to transform STEM education through one-of-a-kind scientific engagement and world-class research at the Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park. Working to preserve and expand opportunities for public access to hands-on scientific discovery, the Fossil Park offers a variety of outreach events including Community Dig Days and school visits. A state-of-the-art, on-site museum designed to connect people to deep time, the contingencies of natural history and the fragility of our planet is planned.

Making a paws-itive impact

In 2019, Gerald B. Shreiber established the Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program, bringing certified therapy dogs to campus to interact with students and delivering resources to enhance the well-being of the entire Rowan community. The gift has funded the hiring of the program’s assistant director, creation of a dedicated program space in the Wellness Center and a series of events and outreach. The program partners with student services including Disability Services and Military Services, and has 13 active therapy dog handlers and 15 active therapy dogs.

Love for Rowan faculty continues

Created in 2017, the Denis Mercier Endowed Professional Development Fund supports the professional development endeavors of faculty members within the Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts. The first recipients, Katie Budris and Tim Zatzariny Jr. ’94, M’07, attended the Association of Writers and Writers Programs (AWP) conference in Tampa, Florida. “The opportunity to connect with the wider literary community and bring graduate students to the AWP conference is the highlight of my job,” said Budris. 

Creating a solid return on investment

The William G. Rohrer Charitable Foundation pledged $5 million in 2017 to establish the William G. Rohrer College of Business Honors Scholarships to attract, support and graduate Honors business students. Funds from the endowment are used for targeted scholarships and to create and implement recruitment and retention initiatives—further solidifying the status of the Rohrer College of Business as a top destination for the best and brightest business students.

From scholarship to friendship

Established in 2016 to support students in the College of Education, The Clifford V. Presser and Jane Gullett Presser ’47 Endowed Scholarship has been awarded five times—three times to Isabella Knapp ’20, who not only gained financial support, but also received emotional support and a lifelong friendship. “Ever since receiving this scholarship, Jane and I have become pen pals,” said Knapp. “She [was] there to give me advice about my classes, my extracurriculars and really anything that [was] troubling me. I consider her one of my most honored mentors.”

Engineering excellence

In December 2014, the Rowan Family Foundation transformed engineering education with a $15 million pledge to establish an endowment for the College of Engineering. Supporting critical programs including the Engineering Ph.D. Program, the Henry M. Rowan Engineering Globalization Fellowship Program and the Virtual Reality Lab, the endowment also provides scholarship support to exceptional students. For the 2019-2020 academic year, funds were used to provide 44 graduate students with fellowships, upgrade research equipment for new faculty startup packages and build the Global Engineering Program.

Ensuring access and opportunity

Longtime Rowan supporters Lawrence Salva ’77 and his wife, Rita, continue to ensure access, opportunity and excellence for students across the institution. Since the 2014-2015 academic year, more than 30 high-achieving students—at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and the Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts—have received scholarship funds, thanks to their generosity.

Funding future physicians

In 2018, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Renzi generously gifted $100,000 to establish The Renzi Family Clinical Simulation Fund in honor of Albert J. Renzi and Eileen P. Renzi. Following their gift to name four clinical simulation rooms at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in 2011, this fund supports the educational activities of the entire Simulation and Clinical Skills Center. Through opportunities to engage in intensive, hands-on experiences, the fund helps aspiring physicians learn and perfect best practices for patient care.