Western Oregon University received a $1 million commitment from the Richard Woodcock family in May. The funds were designated to support scholarships for students studying STEM fields and education.
Dr. Woodcock, a longtime WOU supporter who recently contributed to the new education building that bears his name, wanted the donation to help underserved, diverse students who are studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM) or who plan to teach in those areas. The $1 million will create the Woodcock Presidential Endowed Scholarship Fund, from which $40,000 in student aid will be given each year.
“Dr. Woodcock continues to be a strong advocate for student success and scholarship,” said WOU President Rex Fuller. “His support consistently furthers our work toward providing quality educators and graduates prepared to work in science-based fields.”
Some STEM students at WOU plan to become educators, making Dr. Woodcock’s donation all the more salient to furthering education. Dr. Woodcock was an assistant professor of psychology at WOU from 1957 to 1961 when the university was known as Oregon College of Education.
“Increasing the number and preparation of STEM educators is of critical importance to Oregon schools and classrooms,” said Dean of the College of Education Mark Girod. “These scholarships will have a direct benefit to the Oregon economy and will help prepare more well-informed citizens.”
At WOU, science, technology and mathematic programs are housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, so the Woodcock donation has ramifications in every academic corner of the university.
“Today’s STEM majors will be tomorrow’s leaders in everything from education to scientific discovery to technological innovation, even the arts and
humanities,” said Kathy Cassity, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Because scientific methodology and technological developments affect all of us, scholarships like this are vital to provide students the opportunity to excel in STEM fields.”
The first scholarships from the endowment will be awarded for the 2019-2020 academic year. Between 10 and 40 students are expected to receive funds. For more information about WOU’s academic offerings, visit the university’s new website, wou.edu.