Austin E. Knowlton Foundation makes $8 million grant to The College of Wooster

Cincinnati-based foundation helps push science center funding over the top

28 May, 2015 by John Hopkins

WOOSTER, Ohio – The Austin E. Knowlton Foundation of Cincinnati, Ohio, will give an $8 million grant to The College of Wooster to support construction of the college's new integrated life sciences center. The grant, announced today, helps complete a fund-raising effort for the new center that began in the fall of 2013.

With $40 million in commitments in hand, the construction fund raising phase of the life sciences project is now complete. The college continues to seek financial support for the innovative, interdisciplinary educational programming that will take place in the new facility, including new endowed professorships and research funds in the life sciences. Groundbreaking is planned for June 2016 and the new facility will open in September 2018.

"This is a great example of an Ohio foundation going all in to make good things happen in Ohio," said Wooster President Grant Cornwell. "Because 'Dutch' Knowlton was an engineer, a builder, and a successful businessman, the Foundation that bears his name has a particular interest in science and technology, and in expanding STEM education opportunities for Ohio students. That made this project, a facility where Wooster faculty and students will reimagine and reinvent the future of life sciences education, a great match, and we are enormously grateful to the foundation and its trustees for sharing our vision and providing this generous grant to help make that vision a reality."

"The Austin E. Knowlton Foundation is excited to be able to assist Wooster in completing the fund raising efforts for the new integrated life sciences center," said John Lindberg, the foundation's president. "Mr. Knowlton believed that higher education was the key to an individual's success in life."

Austin E. Knowlton was the owner and chairman of the Knowlton Construction Company of Bellefontaine, Ohio. Under his leadership, the company was responsible for more than 600 major construction projects throughout Ohio and the Midwest, including school buildings, hospitals, libraries, and post offices. Knowlton earned his bachelor's degree in architectural engineering from The Ohio State University in 1931, and the university's Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture is named in his honor.

In 2012, the foundation established the Austin E. Knowlton Memorial Scholarship at The College of Wooster. Each of the four endowed scholarships provides a first-year Wooster student with an award of approximately $5,000, renewable for all four years of study. The scholarship is designed to support students who are residents of Logan County, Ohio, with preference given to those interested in majoring in mathematics or a related field.

The College of Wooster is America's premier college for mentored undergraduate research. Wooster offers an excellent, comprehensive liberal arts education, culminating in a rigorous senior project, in which each student works one-on-one with a faculty mentor to conceive, organize and complete a significant research project on a topic of the student's own choosing. Through this distinctive program, every Wooster student develops abilities valued by employers and graduate schools alike: independent judgment, analytical ability, creativity, project-management and time-management skills, and strong written and oral communication skills. Founded in 1866, the college enrolls approximately 2,000 students.