NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma announced today a historic gift that will transform the future of the OU College of Arts and Sciences.
Donated from the family of renowned educator and scientist Homer L. Dodge, a former OU faculty member, department chair and dean, the donation is allocated equally between OU’s College of Arts and Sciences and its Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy – predominantly benefiting student scholarships and research fellowships.
In appreciation of this gift, the OU Board of Regents has approved the renaming of the college to the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences. The announcement was made today at a ceremony on the front steps of Evans Hall.
“This extraordinary gift from the Dodge family is momentous, not only for its size, but for the life-changing impact it will have on our students for generations to come,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “The Dodge family has been a linchpin in our university’s story for over a century, beginning with legendary physics Professor Homer Dodge. This generous gift solidifies their family’s legacy, underscoring their deep commitment to inspiring budding scientists to seize the vanguard of research discoveries. We are profoundly grateful for their unparalleled support and belief in our dynamic vision for a bright future.”
The largest portion of the funds allotted to the College of Arts and Sciences will go to the Dean’s Undergraduate Scholar Fund to benefit student scholarships. A significant amount is earmarked for the Dodge Family Graduate Fellows Fund to benefit graduate students, as well as for the Faculty Research Fund. Two research chairs will also be funded.
The College of Arts and Sciences is OU’s oldest, most disciplinarily and demographically diverse, and largest college with over 10,000 students, over 600 faculty, 100,000 graduates and more than 60 majors.
“The College of Arts and Sciences is committed to ensuring that every talented undergraduate student, regardless of financial means, has the opportunity to enroll in, succeed in, and graduate from one of our many, many programs,” said David Wrobel, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We are also committed to the strategic growth of our graduate programs, and to ensuring that the college is at leading edge of OU’s ambitious strategic plan. We are enormously grateful to the Dodge family for the support it has provided us to pursue that mission more boldly and thereby better serve our students, faculty and staff. The influence of Homer L. Dodge on our Department of Physics and Astronomy, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the university as a whole is a long and enduring one, stretching more than a century from when he first arrived on the OU campus in 1919. With this generous bequest from the Dodge family, that influence will continue for centuries to come.”
The Dodge family chose to reserve half of the historic gift for OU’s Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, within the College of Arts and Sciences, of which Homer Dodge was a former professor and chair. The physics department was renamed the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2005. Of the funds earmarked for the Physics and Astronomy Department, the majority will benefit the Dodge Family Postdoctoral Research Fellows Fund, followed by the Research Faculty Fund, the Strategic Research Investment Fund, and the Dean’s Student Recruitment and Bridge Fund. The remainder of the Physics and Astronomy Department allocation will go to the Distinguished Visitor and Workshop Fund and the Dean’s Graduate and Postdoctoral Retention Fund.
“This gift is transformational,” said Guy L. Patton, OU Foundation president and CEO. “It raises the bar for giving to OU and will propel our fundraising efforts.”
Homer Dodge was a graduate of Colgate University and earned a master’s and doctorate from the University of Iowa. In 1919, at the age of 31, Dodge was sought out by OU President Stratton Brooks to head the OU Physics Department. Dodge created and became director of OU’s School of Engineering in 1924, and served as dean of the Graduate College the following year. His acclaimed academic career also included helping to organize the American Association of Physics Teachers and founding OU’s University Senate, designed to give the OU faculty a voice in the development of university policy. Dodge enjoyed a robust career of national and international service until his death in 1983, at the age of 95.