Eastern receives historic monetary donation

Eastern receives gifts periodically from interested parties and, in some cases, faculty. The university has just received a record-breaking gift donation of $3.68 million.

Paul Ward, a former educational psychology professor, donated this gift to Eastern, making it the largest gift received in university history topping a $3 million donation Jane Tarble, the daughter of the founder of Snap-On tools, contributed.

The money was put into an endowment, according to Ward’s bequest. The money will be taken from the interest from the endowment to then be given out through scholarships for students majoring in counseling and student development.

Robert Martin, the vice president for university advancement, said this will allow the endowment to last forever. The money will need to sit for a year though in order to have enough interest to provide scholarships to students.

In a year when interest is accumulated, the scholarship committee will then split up the money to give to students.

“It is the gift that keeps on giving,” Martin said.

Martin said when he found out he was pleasantly surprised. Ward’s plan to contribute the money was set before he died June 13, 2011, but his estate had to be settled. Settling someone’s estate can take a while, Martin added.

“A state that large takes time to settle,” Martin said.

Ward wished only to have his name on the scholarships given out.

Martin said this gift will be especially helpful in recruiting new students to the counseling and student development department.

“It makes the program a lot more attractive because it will be significant financial assistance for academically qualified students,” Martin said.

Despite the fact he taught at a couple of other schools across the nation, Ward retired and contributed to Eastern, which Martin said was very interesting.

“He really loved it here, he loved his students and he wanted to make a difference,” Martin said.

President Bill Perry said he expects this to encourage donation, especially with philanthropy of this size.

“Anytime anyone makes such a gift, it does inspire others to think about what they can do for their university,” Perry said.

Martin said he hopes this encourages more gifts as well, but he has seen the most gifts given during the EIU: Expect Greatness campaign. He said massive donations spawn limited interest in philanthropy.

Perry said he will be mentioned during ceremonies when the scholarships will be given out to make sure people know the late Ward and what he did for Eastern.

“Faculty are so dedicated to teaching and stuff like that during their lifetime and making a difference in children’s lives,” Martin said. “He took his contribution beyond the grave.”

Jarad Jarmon can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]