William Danforth, Who Led Washington University, Dies at 94

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When William H. Danforth was 12, his self-made grandfather handed him a pair of scissors and told him to cut out the word “impossible” from his dictionary. He wanted his grandchildren to feel they could change the world, as long as they gave back.

Young Bill absorbed the lesson. He went on to become chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis, overseeing its blossoming from a commuter campus into a national research institution, and helped found a plant science center to fight world hunger. (His three siblings also received their grandfather’s message: John became a three-term United States senator from Missouri; Donald Jr. was a business executive who served as board chairman of the American Youth Foundation and helped build the Brain Injury Association of Missouri; and Dorothy Danforth Miller was a philanthropist.)

During Dr. Danforth’s 24-year tenure at Washington University, which started in 1971, people associated with the university won 10 Nobel Prizes and two Pulitzer Prizes. Two faculty members became the nation’s poet laureates.

He established 70 endowed professorships, constructed dozens of buildings and tripled the number of student scholarships. The endowment grew to $1.72 billion, the seventh-largest in the country at the time. A highly selective university, it now stands at No. 16 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of the nation’s best colleges.

Dr. Danforth died on Sept. 16 at his home in Ladue, Mo. a suburb of St. Louis. He was 94.

His son, David, said the cause was complications of a fall.

Dr. Danforth was more than a leading educator; he was also a major philanthropist. As president of the Danforth Foundation, the family philanthropy founded in 1927, he funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to thousands of recipients, many of them organizations in the St. Louis region.

He also


William Paterson University Awarded ‘Transformative’ STEM Grant

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WAYNE, NJ — William Paterson University was awarded a five-year, $1 million Scholarships-in-STEM grant from the National Science Foundation, the university announced.

The grant will support WPU students majoring in mathematics and computer science through scholarships and mentoring, according to the university.

“The overall goal of this project is to increase STEM degree completion of low-income, high achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need,” says Venkat Sharma, dean of the College of Science and Health, who serves as the team’s STEM administrator. “I congratulate all of our colleagues for their hard work in obtaining this highly competitive and transformative grant.”

Over the five-year duration, the project will support 26 first-year and transfer students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in mathematics, computer science, or computer information technology.

First year students will receive scholarship support for up to four years and transfer students will receive up to two years of scholarship support, the university said.

With this grant award, William Paterson intends to enroll three cohorts of low-income, academically talented students as mathematics and computer science (MaCS) scholars and support them with scholarships.

The University will also work to improve year-over-year retention rates for MaCS scholars who are first-time, full-time, first-year or transfer students, and improve graduation rates for all MaCS scholars.

Additionally, the funds will support a research study that investigates the relationship between college retention for low-income students and strength-based, culturally responsive mentoring. The proposed project will also refine the recruitment pipeline of females into the target STEM majors, which will increase enrollment and, consequentially, increase the number of underrepresented STEM graduates entering the workforce.

This grant will also allow the University to develop leadership programs at its seven partner schools, the university said. These include:

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