Throughout the 1980s, as it continued to receive scholarship and endowment support, the University became the beneficiary of various properties, living trusts, and bequests. Goodyear Chairman Russell DeYoung ’32 and his wife, Lois, donated their private residence to the University, and Monica Scott established a living trust annuity for the University.

Two academic chairs were created in the early 1980s: The David L. Brennan Chair of Law, established by local attorney and industrialist David Brennan to support visiting legal scholars, and The Alex Schulman Eminent Scholar Chair in Polymer Science, made possible by a gift from the A. Schulman Co and the family of the late Alex Schulman.

Attorney Bruce W. “Scotty” Bierce, a descendent of General Lucius Bierce and a former member of the University’s football team, and his wife, Ruth, created an athletic scholarship. Gus and Mark Gallucci donated their privately owned Holiday Inn hotel building for conversion into a residence hall, and Catherine Klages endowed a generous scholarship fund in loving memory of her husband, Louis, a prominent Akron businessman. 

The Dr. Marvin S. Platt Scholarship Fund, established in 1981, was envisioned to make possible a scholarship(s) for a University of Akron student(s) enrolled in the School of Law.

Evan B. Brewster, who had established four scholarship funds in 1978, established The Attorney Evan B. Brewster School of Law Scholarship Fund in 1981. The annual income from this fund is awarded to law students for whatever reason, in whatever amount, as determined by the Dean of the School of Law.

The Velma Hesselbart Scholarship Fund was established in 1982 by Robert Mitten of Hesselbart & Mitten Advertising and his wife to honor the agency’s cofounder, the late Vee Hesselbart.

The Jack Herbert Kurz Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1984 under the terms of a trust executed by the late Herbert J. Kurz of Cleveland. This endowment fund provides scholarship support for deserving undergraduates in memory of Jack Herbert Kurz, a son of Herbert Kurz and former student at the University.

The Harley John Queen Scholarship Fund was established as a trust fund in 1982 by the late Harley John Queen of Akron and as an endowed scholarship in 1986. This fund generates earnings to be used annually to provide scholarships to deserving law students as determined by the dean of the School of Law.

The Emanuel and Rose Gurin Scholarship was established in 1983 to honor the selection of Emanuel Gurin, class of 1935, as a 1983 Honored Alumnus of the University and for Mrs. Emanuel Gurin (Rose Tepper). It is awarded to students pursuing degrees in chemistry.

The University further enriched its academic climate in 1985. Esther Burkett, a 1952 graduate and lifelong educator, donated her family farm to the University, with sale proceeds used to endow scholarships for students in elementary and special education. Nancy and Robert F. Meyerson, in honor of their fathers, Hartley H. Hood and Stanford B. Myerson, established the Hood/Meyerson Lectureship in Free Enterprise. Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, presented the inaugural lecture.

Also that year, Dr. Gary B. and Pam Williams funded scholarships and created the Williams Lecture Series to bring nationally known scholars to campus, and the Cleveland Foundation made a grant through the L. Dale Dorney Fund to further strengthen business education.

John E. Wilkinson, a loyal friend of the University, had established a scholarship fund in 1979 in memory of his mother, Ruth I. Wilkinson. He continued his support of the Univeristy by establishing three more scholarship funds in 1985. The George B., David H., and Ruth I. Wilkinson Scholarship Fund was established in honor of his brothers, George B. Wilkinson and David H. Wilkinson, and in loving memory of his sister, Ruth I. Wilkinson. This endowed fund provides tuition assistance for deserving students entering the field of education and/or family counseling. The Wilkinson Gudikunst Scholarship Fund was established on the occasion of his retirement from The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and in loving memory of his aunt, Anna R. Gudikunst. Income from the endowed corpus is used to provide tuition assistance for children of employees of the material management division of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company with first preference given to students entering the field of material management. The George E. Wilkinson Scholarship Fund honors his father, George E. Wilkinson, for whom he holds the utmost love and respect. The fund provides tuition assistance for deserving premed students with preference given to students preparing for careers in service to the aging.

In 1986, Oberlin graduate Geraldine Stoller left her entire estate to the University, affirming her strong belief in education. The large and generous bequest established an endowment that supports the University’s special needs. That same year, Jean Hower Taber, great-granddaughter of John B. Hower, gave generously to refurbish her ancestral home, Hower House, a wonderfully preserved Second Empire Victorian house on the edge of campus.

The Verna A. and Boyd R. Wallace Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 1981 through a bequest provision by Mrs. Boyd R. Wallace in her name and in loving memory of her husband, both of whom devoted a lifetime to Garfield High School and its students.

The Ray C. Bliss Institute for Applied Politics was created in 1986 with gifts in memory of the former trustee and national political leader. Gifts were from the estates of Ray and Ellen Bliss, the Loren M. Berry Foundation, the Henry and Louise Timken Foundation, Louise Timken, W.R. Timken, and the J. Willard Marriott Foundation.  Nationally known for its focus on applied politics, the Bliss Institute provides internships for students and brings distinguished national political figures to campus each year.

The Peter LaRose Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1986 on an endowed basis by the Charles W. Carroll family of Akron in honor of Peter LaRose Sr., president of the House of LaRose and well-known Akron community leader. Further support followed from memorial gifts given by his family and many friends following his untimely death in May 1986.

The Dr. Adib Karam Class of 1925 Fund was established in 1986 in memory of Dr. Karam’s parents, Freida and Henry Karam, and in honor of his brother, Ernest, and his sisters, Ada, Lucille, and Annetta. The fund assists in furthering the interests of University of Akron alumni and for the benefit of the University Libraries. Dr. Karam was a recognized physician, humanitarian, and loyal alumnus.

The Stewart L. and Catherine E. Dow Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1986 with provisions from the estate of Catherine E. Dow in memory of her husband, Stewart L. Dow, class of 1927, and herself, a devoted friend of the University.

The University’s School of Art was given a permanent home in 1987, thanks to a large gift courtesy of Harold K. “Dutch” and Catherine F. Folk. Folk Hall gave the School of Art one of the largest studio and gallery facilities in the country. Dutch Folk had been a successful Akron auto dealer.

Lovina Knight established a lectureship in honor of her grandfather, Charles M. Knight, the founder of the University’s Chemistry Department. Robert and Lucille Harris generously assisted the Department of History. In 1987, Madge and Theodore F. Harrington established professorships in education and engineering.

The Robert and Hellen Mitten Scholarship Fund for Marketing Students was established in 1987. The fund recognizes a marketing student who exemplifies outstanding merit and has financial need.

The Don and Marjorie Damon Scholarship was stablished in 1987 under terms of the will of Marjorie Damon. This endowed scholarship provides assistance for students in liberal arts, science, or business.

In 1988 Mr. and Mrs. J. Robert Wilson provided a leadership gift that made possible a state-of-the-art facility for the Speech and Hearing Center of The School of Communicative Disorders, The Virginia E. Wilson Assistive Listening Device Center. Established out of gratitude for the services the Department had provided Virginia Wilson, The Wilson Center is recognized as the finest facility of its kind in the world. It is a tribute to Mr. and Mrs. Wilson's passion for excellence and quality.

The year 1988 was significant for the University and for disadvantaged area children. The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company’s Firestone Trust Fund created a large endowment for the Strive Toward Excellence Program to help inner-city youngsters begin preparation for college while still in middle school. The program continues through high school, and graduates of the program receive tuition-free education at the University.

The Kumho Group established an endowed professorship in the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering in 1988, and The University of Akron Press was established with a gift from Paul E. Martin. The publishing arm became a means for the creation of specialized books, including those authored by University faculty, alumni, and other writers. 

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The University of Akron’s renowned program in polymers also was elevated in 1988 with the creation of the world’s first College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. The University has long provided important scientific support to the key regional industry, and today the University’s polymer program is ranked as one of the top programs of its kind in the world.

When the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering opened, it reflected the growth of a scientific discipline and the lasting support of the community and supporting industries. Support came from the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co., AT&T, A. Schulman Inc., GenCorp, BFGoodrich Co., Columbian Chemicals Co., Texas Petrochemicals Corp., and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., for whom the college headquarters building was named.

The Kenneth L. Nichols Fellowship was established in 1988 as a result of a bequest to the Department of History. Kenneth Nichols is well-remembered as a recorder of Akron’s history in his popular, long-running newspaper column.

The Dr. Arthur Dobkin Nursing Scholarship was established in 1988 by Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Dobkin. The College of Nursing has had the benefit of the Dobkins’ personal financial support, and Dr. Dobkin has served as the first vice chairman of the college’s Advancement Council. Dr. Dobkin is a 1928 graduate of The University of Akron and has been a practicing physician for more than 50 years. He has provided wise counsel and insight to the college regarding the physician’s perspective on nursing education. He also has offered his tireless assistance to generate private financial support for the needs of the college and its students.

Dr. Paul Flory, a Nobel Prize winner, donated his collection of books and papers to the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, and several academic chairs were created. Mildred Morton endowed the Dr. Harold A. Morton Chair in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, and the R.C. and Katherine Musson Charitable Foundation helped create the Robert C. Musson Eminent Chair in Polymer Science. In 1989, Sidney and Miriam Olson helped create the Olson Research Center, which supports polymer engineers and their efforts to commercialize polymer innovations.

Other colleges received generous support from University benefactors at the close of the decade. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Harris created scholarships in history and art, and a large portion of the Paul Williams estate was bequeathed to the University. Donald W. McClelland, along with his wife, Edith Jane, and their family, endowed the Dr. Charles Alexander Scholarship, and Curtis E. Brooks established a scholarship for music students in memory of his parents. Also in 1988, Mrs. Frank McMorrow gave generously to the College of Nursing.