BY CHASE GORSKI
30 years after the late Richard A. Henson made his initial multi-million-dollar contribution to Salisbury University, the foundation that bears his name continued that generosity.
On October 4, it was announced by SU that the Henson Foundation donated $2.5 million dollars to the Henson School of Science and Technology.
The announcement, held in the small courtyard outside of Henson Hall, was the official unveiling by the foundation and university to students and other faculty members whom were in attendance.
Most importantly, it was announced what the donation would specifically be allocated towards.
Dr. Victor Laws III, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Henson Foundation, revealed that the money will enhance scholarship funds, undergraduate research and foreign study, faculty research opportunities, instructional equipment. The money will also fund a Science and Technology Honors Program and the construction of a new computing laboratory.
The decision-making behind the scenes was said to be a collaborative effort between university officials and the Henson Foundation. After months of discussion and assessing the needs of the department, the announcement was made formal.
The excitement surrounding the announcement could be seen everywhere, but especially so in the Henson School’s Interim Dean, who is a former Henson Scholar.
“[The donation] is going to be transformative, we’ve been able to achieve a tremendous amount with the original gift but this is going to put us over the top.” Dr. Michael Scott said.
Dr. Scott feels one of the biggest benefits out of this donation for students is the ability to fund traveling to national conferences, where they will be able to present various research projects they have conducted.
This donation is one of many that both Henson and his foundation have given to Salisbury University, furthering their pledge to the university and their science and technology programs.
Time after time the foundation has proved their dedication to SU, but the reason behind it is simple; the success of students.
“We can see what we’ve helped to accomplish here. . .when you look at what students, not just faculty are publishing, it’s remarkable,” Dr. Law III said. “What the students and faculty have achieved here is so gratifying for us.”
As for the Richard A. Henson Science and Mathematics Honors Program, the objective is for the already large number of Henson students in the current Honors Program to have a dedicated fund specifically for those students.
According to the university website, over 40 percent of the members of the Bellavance Honors Program are students in the Henson School. This new program would be focused solely towards those students giving them a more specific focus.
This would also be a way to open up more room for other students within the current Honors College at Salisbury.
“The success of Salisbury University moving forward is going to be from our honors program,” Dr. Scott said. “These are the students that we want on campus. . .[they] elevate the learning in the classes for everyone.”
During the event, President Janet Dudley-Eshbach also spoke briefly regarding her gratitude for the Henson Foundation, and what they have been able to help students and faculty accomplish at SU.
Both President Dudley-Eshbach and Dr. Olmstead reiterated the appreciation that they felt for Henson, and for the Board of Trustees that made this possible.
Even after his death in 2002, Richard A. Henson’s philanthropic ways live on through his foundation, and the benefits of it can be seen here in the students of Salisbury University.