Local businessman, entrepreneur, author and alumnus Thomas Crowel has donated $100,000 to Purdue University Calumet to establish the university’s first endowed professorship.
The gift is being matched by a $400,000 award from the Lilly Endowment Program to introduce the Thomas Ray Crowel Endowed Professorship, which is intended to lead an initiative designed to promote and improve science and mathematics learning among at-risk students in pre-school through high school.
The Crowel Professorship will lead the emerging Purdue Calumet Center for Science and Technology Education. The center will focus on programs that provide a learning environment that is exciting, intellectually stimulating and technologically sophisticated.
“Education is the foundation of civilized societies,” said Crowel, founder of the Highland-based Crowel Companies. “To build those societies, it takes knowledge and the development of students by exceptional teachers. It’s my belief that Purdue University Calumet is an institution which can be counted amongst the finest places for learning.”
Crowel, a 1981 Purdue Calumet graduate, has developed successful insurance and finance companies, an accredited insurance training center for sales professionals and a chain of car washes. Among the books he has written is “Simple Selling, Common Sense That Guarantees Your Success.”
“Tom Crowel is a nationally recognized figure whose success story is a testament to what one can achieve through planning and hard work,” Purdue Calumet Vice Chancellor for Advancement Judith Kaufman said. “His latest gesture of generosity to his alma mater-for which we are most appreciative-is a telling example of how much he values and appreciates Purdue Calumet and the education it provides.”
Lilly Endowment has pledged to match each $100,000 endowed professorship donation that Purdue Calumet receives with $400,000, ultimately, to create five, $500,000 endowed professorships.
The four other areas in which Purdue Calumet is seeking endowed professorships are: the Center for Energy Efficiency and Reliability, the Center for Women and Minorities in Construction, the Water Institute, and the university’s academic program in hospitality and tourism management.
Crowel previously donated $100,000 to Purdue Calumet to establish four, $25,000 endowed scholarships for students pursuing degrees in management, professional writing, education and construction management. In addition, Crowel has donated $25,000 to the university’s student housing facility, The University Village at Purdue Calumet, where a room will be named in his honor. The facility is scheduled to open in August.