Wednesday, January 2, 2013
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College received the largest gift in its 160-year history as a result of a $7 million bequest from Helen Louise Lemmon. The gift will be used to endow The Lemmon Family Scholarship for students seeking careers in the sciences.
The gift is part of Ever Higher: The Campaign for Westminster College and helped Westminster eclipse $37.4 million towards its $50-million goal. Ever Higher entered its public phase in September and is already the most successful fundraising campaign in Westminster history. Visit www.westminster.edu/everhigher for campaign details.
"This is a transformational gift that will significantly elevate Westminster's ability to attract top student scholars," Westminster College President Dr. Richard H. Dorman said. "A national goal is to increase America's competitiveness in the sciences globally, and this new scholarship program will enhance Westminster's role in achieving that goal."
Westminster was recognized by Forbes.com as the "best college in the nation for women in the S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math) fields," and Westminster graduates are accepted into medical school at double the national average.
The sciences, especially biology-related fields, are Westminster's fastest growing majors. All Westminster programs emphasize experiential learning and preparing students to succeed in their chosen field of interest.
Westminster students work with faculty mentors throughout their four years on campus to conduct cutting-edge research and present their findings at national conferences. Senior capstone research projects provide every student the opportunity to apply and hone information literacy and research skills, scientific writing skills, and problem-solving skills in collaboration with a faculty adviser.
In addition, all Westminster students benefit from a liberal studies core curriculum which empowers students to: reason logically and evaluate critically; communicate effectively; think creatively; demonstrate intellectual curiosity; apply knowledge to contemporary issues; demonstrate moral and ethical commitments to neighbor, society, and the natural world; and demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning and the acquisition of skills for careers and responsible service as world citizens.
"We are grateful that Mrs. Lemmon valued the education she received from Westminster and chose to share that special gift with future generations of students," Vice President of Institutional Advancement Gloria Cagigas said.
The Lemmon Family Scholarship is restricted for use in the sciences and criteria will be defined in 2013.
The previous largest gift to Westminster was $3 million from Andrew McKelvey to help construct the Andrew J. McKelvey Campus center in 2003.
Margaret "Peggy" Lemmon Janisse, Martha Jane Lemmon, and Helen Louise Lemmon were the daughters of George Steele Lemmon, a chemist with Teledyne Vasco Company in Latrobe, and June Saxman Lemmon, an accomplished artist. The Lemmon sisters were raised with a healthy respect for higher education, a genuine appreciation for hard work, and an understanding of philanthropic responsibility.
Louise entered Westminster College in 1938 and completed two full years of study with a major in secretarial science and worked as secretary to the president of Allegheny Steel. Peggy completed three years at Westminster.
Following the death of their parents and the death of Peggy's husband, the two sisters returned to the family home in Latrobe to care for their sister. Louise retired in 1962, while Peggy worked in interior design and as a volunteer for Pittsburgh Children's Hospital. Peggy passed away in 2010 and Louise died in 2011.
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 379 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.
Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.