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December 10, 2015

Philanthropist Henry Rowan, benefactor of Rowan University, dies at 92

Rowan invested more than $100 million to spur the growth of the Glassboro-based university

Obituaries Rowan University
121015_HenryRowan Mel Evans, File/AP

In this October 2013 file photo, Henry Rowan watches an engineering demonstration at Rowan University in Glassboro.

Rowan University benefactor and philanthropist Henry Rowan, a pioneer in the growth of the Glassboro institution, died Thursday at the age of 92.

Together with his wife, Betty, who died in 1997, Rowan donated $100 million to then-Glassboro State College in 1992, the largest pledge ever made to a public university at the time, reports. Following the donation, the university named itself after Rowan and embarked on a period of tremendous growth across multiple academic programs.

Born in Ridgewood, Rowan studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He went on to start his own metals manufacturing company, Inductotherm Group, whose innovations advanced industrial safety, production and technical capacity.

Current Rowan University President Dr. Ali Houshmand offered condolences Thursday and remarked on Rowan's legacy at the university and beyond.

"[Rowan] had a massive impact for this region," Houshmand said. "He had a global impact, he has a massive legacy, and we are so grateful for his gift and the generations of students who will benefit in the future."

In addition the original $100-million donation, Rowan donated $400,000 toward an engineering fellowship in 2013 and $100,000 for programs in arts and entertainment in 2014. The Rowan family also added another $15-million endowment to the College of Engineering in 2014.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called Rowan "one of the great philanthropists of our time," adding that his vision and contributions will continue to have a profound effect on the state of New Jersey.

Rowan University, which unveiled a statue of its benefactor three years ago, plans to hold an on-campus memorial in January.