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Henry Rowan, Ridgewood Native Who Reshaped New Jersey College, Dies At 92

Henry Rowan with students from Rowan University.
Henry Rowan with students from Rowan University. Photo Credit: Rowan University

Henry M. Rowan, the Ridgewood native who transformed a modest New Jersey state college into the regionally acclaimed university that carries his name, died Wednesday, Dec. 9 at an assisted living residence in Bucks County, Pa,T he New York Times reports.

The Engineer and industrialist was 92. The $100 million gift from him and his first wife Betty to Glassboro State College in New Jersey — now Rowan University — was the biggest individual cash gift to any public college or university at the time.

The inventor of a revolutionary metal-melting furnace, Rowan formed a global conglomerate, Inductotherm Group, from his Ewing Township home in 1953. He and Betty Rowan gave the money to the school out of gratitude for their home state and their success, the Times reports. They have no connection to the college, and the naming rights were offered to him.

The funds changed the college, financing an engineering school and adding graduate programs, according to the Times.

Betty Rowan died in 1997. The couple’s two sons, who had muscular dystrophy, died in their 20s.

He is survived by his wife Lee (nee Edwardson); his daughter, Virginia Smith; two grandsons; and his sister, Miriam Mallory.

Click here to read the full story from The New York Times.

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