Akron couple's estate planning gift boosts CPSPE scholarships


By most accounts, Julia and George Fouts lived quiet, orderly lives as part of the Akron community. Both teenage children of the great depression, they knew how to survive tough times, value their possessions and to never let the present thwart the future’s dream. 

Mrs. Fouts once said higher education and polymer science were shared fascinations for her and her husband, George, who died in 1999. The couple felt a connection to The University of Akron via trusted advisor, friend and alumnus Mr. Dean Smith, and to the city’s early 20th century dominance as the world’s rubber capital. 

Years before her death earlier this year at age 100, Mrs. Fouts made a lasting impact that will live on well into the future, through a $715,000 estate gift directed to The George Clinton and Julia Lucille Fouts Endowed Scholarship, supporting students in the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering.

The Foutses both worked and retired from BFGoodrich Company; Julia, a clerk and George, a security guard. They had no children, but intentionally saved their money and never stopped thinking about the impact they could make. Although neither attended college, they knew the doors it opened for others.

Dr. Eric J. Amis, dean of the UA College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, celebrated the couple’s altruism, saying their generosity will assist students and the college in many ways.

“The Foutses were truly an amazing couple, people who lived through difficult times but still thought about how to ‘pay it forward,’” says Amis. He says portions of the gift will be used to assist first-year students to explore a variety of research options, including polymer chemistry, physics and engineering.

“This gift gives the college the opportunity to expand these options for students,” says Amis. “This, in turn, creates better, more well-rounded students.”

University of Akron President Matthew J. Wilson also lauded the Foutses’ thoughtfulness.

“This is an amazing gift from selfless people. What they did will have a dramatic impact on the future of so many students,” Wilson said. “As part of the University’s Making a Difference, Moving Forward Scholarship campaign and other outreach efforts, this gift demonstrates the impact of the community —past and present. This is a powerful example of how planned giving can change and improve lives in so many different ways.”

The Foutses’ estate gift was not their first act of generosity toward UA.  In 2005, Mrs. Fouts donated $20,000 to the UA Foundation, supporting The George Clinton and Julia Lucille Fouts Endowed Scholarship for Summit College (now known as the College of Applied Science and Technology). That same year, she established The George Clinton and Julia Lucille Fouts Endowed Scholarship Fund, assisting College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering students.

Mrs. Fouts’ estate gift is an excellent example of what planned giving can accomplish, allowing donors to make gift plans now to support the University that will take effect in the future as a way to create an enduring legacy. These gifts require some planning and should be discussed with a financial/professional adviser.

If you would like to discuss planned giving opportunities involving The University of Akron, please contact Carolyn Mehl at (330) 972-7173 or cmehl1@uakron.edu.