Honorary Doctorates to be awarded to loyal UA supporters


The University of Akron is bestowing Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters to James D. Oelschlager and Margaret F. Donovan.

James D. OelschlagerOelschlager is the founder and CEO of the independent equity investment company, Oak Associates, Ltd. He truly believes in giving back to his community and does so on a large scale, but with little fanfare or expectation of recognition. Spanning two decades, Oelschlager has gifted the University with more than $16.5 million, funding scholarships and other student-centered programs.

More than 350 students have benefited from the Oelschlager Leadership Awards scholarship programs, and more than 475 students have participated in the Oelschlager Summer Leadership Institute. Most of these students would be the first in their families to attend college. 

Oeslchlager has also provided funds to be distributed as scholarships to students with immediate need. These funds will be used as a lifeline to students who might otherwise be forced to drop out of college due to financial circumstances. Oelschlager has also donated millions of dollars to the community, including $2.9 million to Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron and $1.1 million to Summa Health System.

Margaret F. DonovanMrs. Donovan also has a long history of supporting the University. In 1996, she, along with her children and friends, established The Robert E. Donovan Scholarship for women pursuing degrees in engineering, law or business in honor of her husband, Robert, who was president and CEO of ABB, Incorporated. Mr. Donovan was killed in a plane crash during a humanitarian trip to Croatia.

Mrs. Donovan also established the Margaret F. Donovan Chair for Women in Engineering for the Women in Engineering program, the first chair of its kind in the United States. In addition, Mrs. Donovan has contributed the lead gift to the College of Engineering for the Student Design Center. Even though she is understated concerning recognition of her giving, Mrs. Donovan was recognized by the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science in New York for her groundbreaking dedication to advancing women in engineering. Her lifetime giving to the University totals more than $1.8 million.

Mrs. Donovan has served on The University of Akron Foundation Board of Directors, the College of Engineering’s Advancement Council and the Women in Engineering Advisory Council. She received a Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award from the University in 2003.

“I am pleased to award these honorary doctorates to two very deserving individuals,” said Dr. Luis Proenza, president of The University of Akron. “To Jim Oelschlager, in appreciation and recognition of his noteworthy achievements, valued leadership and outstanding service to his community and the University; and to Margaret Donovan, who has demonstrated tremendous vision, commitment and support for expanding professional opportunities for women, advancing innovation in engineering, and ensuring continued student success at The University of Akron.”

The awarding of the doctorates would take place via special events, to be determined.