Rowan University announced a $10 million endowment for scholarships Thursday, a gift that will be dedicated to helping students develop careers in communication and the creative arts.
The donation, given by Rowan alumni Ric and Jean Edelman, is the Glassboro-based school’s largest endowment to be dedicated solely to scholarships.
In addition to funding merit and need-based scholarships for students in the College of Communication and Creative Arts, Edelman Scholars will be eligible for stipends that can be used for travel to conferences and workshops, and for other professional development.
“This is a tremendous investment in what I see as the next Ric and Jean Edelman," said Sanford Tweedie, dean of the College of Communication and Creative Arts. “To put forth this amount of money shows that they believe in the future of our students.”
The couple founded Edelman Financial Services, a financial planning firm. They have pledged more than $36 million to Rowan since 2002, including a $25 million gift in 2016 to support the university’s Fossil Park, a 65-acre property in Mantua Township with a former quarry that is a rich source of fossils from the dinosaur era. That gift funded the development of a museum, visitor center, and other amenities.
In 2002, the couple gave $1 million to support the university’s planetarium, which now bears their name. In 2006, they established a program to bring elementary schoolchildren to the facility free, and they later donated $240,000 toward a full-dome digital projection system. Both have spoken at commencement ceremonies over the years.
Ric Edelman studied communications while attending Rowan. The College of Communication and Creative Arts has about 1,900 students and offers majors in subjects including journalism, broadcast media, public relations and advertising, and art.
The new scholarships will be primarily awarded to freshmen, but also will be available to returning undergraduates and transfer students.
Tweedie said the endowment’s focus on professional development will mean more students can show their work at conferences or attend networking events where they can meet prospective employers.
“We’ve got to prepare them for jobs while they’re here,” Tweedie said.