Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan Receives $1 Million Estate Gift From 1940 Graduate

April 17, 2015 – by Cole Hatcher

Beatrice Knapp McDowell ’40

Bequest from Beatrice Knapp McDowell to Create Endowed Faculty Chair in Mathematics

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University has received a $1 million gift from the estate of 1940 OWU graduate Beatrice Knapp McDowell of Akron. The bequest will be used to create an endowed faculty chair in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

McDowell majored in mathematics and education at Ohio Wesleyan, where she also was a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority. In 2000, she created the Beatrice Knapp McDowell Legacy Scholarship. She also was a member of the Tower Society, which recognizes those who make estate gifts to the university. She died Sept. 25, 2011, at age 93.

“Bea McDowell and her husband, C. Blake McDowell Jr., leave an impressive legacy of philanthropy,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “They generously contributed both time and treasure to improve the lives of others, and Ohio Wesleyan’s students and faculty will benefit in perpetuity from their selflessness and vision.”

During Beatrice McDowell’s lifetime, she was an active volunteer with such organizations as the Akron Art Museum, Akron Women’s City Club, Junior League of Akron, Saint Thomas Hospital Women’s Board, United Disability Services of Akron, Women’s Board of United Cerebral Palsy of Akron, and Women In Touch with Akron’s Needs (WITAN). The couple also operated the C. Blake, Jr. and Beatrice K. McDowell Foundation.

Their daughter, Margaret “Peggy” McDowell Lloyd, is a 1970 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, and her husband, Philip Lloyd, is a 1969 OWU alumnus. Peggy Lloyd also has been a member of the university’s Board of Trustees since 2006.

“Our family is pleased with my mother’s gift to Ohio Wesleyan University,” Peggy Lloyd said. “She enjoyed her experiences at Ohio Wesleyan. It taught her to expand her horizons at all levels. She loved working with numbers, whether financial or engineering. Therefore, a chair in mathematics is a most appropriate gift.”

Mark Schwartz, Ph.D., an OWU professor of mathematics and computer science and chair of the department, said he and his colleagues are “deeply honored” by the bequest and inspired by Beatrice McDowell’s legacy.

“Beatrice Knapp McDowell was the only woman to graduate with a degree in mathematics at OWU in her Class of 1940,” Schwartz said. “She hoped to study engineering at the University of Michigan, but UM didn’t accept women in the engineering program at the time. She audited engineering classes, and ultimately entered the teaching profession.

“The McDowell gift will help our department create and maintain innovative programs in mathematics and computer science,” Schwartz said, “which will serve and inspire future generations of students.”

Chris Wolverton, Ph.D., a professor of botany-microbiology and a member of the university’s Connect Today, Create Tomorrow capital campaign leadership committee, said gifts that recognize the impact of faculty are especially meaningful.

“To see the faculty supported in this direct way is such an honor and an acknowledgement of the deep and persistent impact of the relationships formed between faculty and students here at OWU,” Wolverton said.

The Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign was launched in July with the key objectives of enhancing access and affordability for students through scholarship endowment; recognizing and rewarding faculty excellence and innovation; and improving the physical campus. To date, the campaign has generated $66 million in contributions from graduates, parents, and friends of the university.

Learn more about the Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign and giving to Ohio Wesleyan at owu.edu/waystogive.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 86 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,750 students represent 46 U.S. states and territories and 43 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.