Wartburg News

Hoovers donate $1 million to boost Wartburg engineering science

Wartburg College has received a $1 million gift to create an endowed distinguished professorship in engineering science.

Gary and Donna Hoover, of Scottsdale, Ariz., formerly of Ames, have established the Gary and Donna Hoover Distinguished Professorship in Engineering Science, which will support one of the college's fastest-growing academic programs. The gift is part of the college’s upcoming comprehensive campaign, Transforming Tomorrow.

Gary Hoover, a retired engineer, is co-founder of Tenaska, which develops, owns and operates non-utility power plants. He is a member of the Wartburg Board of Regents and the college’s Engineering Science National Advisory Board.

The Hoovers were involved with Commission Wartburg, an earlier strategic planning process; Campaign Wartburg, the largest capital campaign in the college’s history; and Commission on Mission, the most recent strategic planning process.

“It has been a very rewarding experience for us to be involved in Wartburg's very high quality educational endeavors,” Gary said. “We are delighted that our grandson has chosen Wartburg.”

“No two people show greater concern for our young people,” said Wartburg President Darrel Colson. “Wartburg is blessed by Donna and Gary’s presence, their leadership and their service.”

Dr. Daniel Black, professor of physical and engineering sciences, will hold the distinguished professorship, which commenced with the 2013-14 academic year. This position becomes the 18th endowed chair or professorship at Wartburg. Black is also chair of the biochemistry, chemistry and engineering science department.

The Hoovers’ gift recognizes Wartburg’s focus on integrative and experiential learning in the liberal arts tradition as well as its particular academic success in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.

“This gift will provide support for additional curricular and co-curricular programming in engineering science,” said Dr. Mark Biermann, Wartburg's vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty. “Because of the integrated nature of our curriculum, this gift will also benefit students in majors outside of engineering science, as well.”

Wartburg’s engineering science program has seen tremendous growth during the past decade. Nine students majored in the program at its inception in fall 2002; 60 students enrolled in the program in Fall 2013.

The Hoovers became affiliated with the college several years ago through Gary Hoover’s uncle, Marv Walston, a Waverly businessman. The two are the namesakes of Walston-Hoover Stadium. The fieldhouse and track area of the Wartburg-Waverly Sports & Wellness Center is also named in honor of the Hoovers.

In addition to their financial gifts, Gary and Donna enjoy giving of their time and interacting with Wartburg students. They host the men’s golf team in their Arizona home each winter.

“Whether hosting students in their home or giving generously to support students’ academic and co-curricular programs, Donna and Gary are an inspiration to us all,” Colson said.

Gary Hoover is an alumnus and supporter of Iowa State University as well. Hoover Hall, one of two buildings in the Engineering Teaching and Research Complex, bears their name.