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Engineering alumnus and wife establish scholarship fund for Russ College students

Adrienne Cornwall | Jul 18, 2014
David Pidwell
Photo by Rebecca Miller

Engineering alumnus and wife establish scholarship fund for Russ College students

Adrienne Cornwall | Jul 18, 2014

Photo by Rebecca Miller

Entrepreneur and engineering alumnus David Pidwell, BSEE ’69, MSISE ’70, and his wife, Tina, have committed $300,000 to establish the David and Tina Pidwell Russ Vision Scholarship Fund for students of the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology  at Ohio University.

The Pidwells’ gift will be matched by both Ohio University and the Russ College, creating a total scholarship fund of $600,000 that will provide six scholarships for undergraduate students. This is thanks to a University initiative, The Ohio Match, and a Russ College initiative, in which both OHIO and the Russ College matches $.50 on every $1.00 contributed to qualified scholarship accounts. 

“Dave’s devotion to the college and his passion for entrepreneurship is just astounding,” said Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin. “The time in advising students and faculty in the nuances of entrepreneurship that he has given the university in his almost monthly trips (from California or Utah!) over a period of close to a decade is truly unprecedented. For Dave and Tina to add six major scholarships to their contributions is deeply touching.”

The Russ Vision Scholarships support women and underrepresented students, undergraduate research, and experiential learning. Students accepted for admission to or enrolled in Ohio University and the Russ College of Engineering and Technology will be eligible when the fund reaches full endowment levels in fall 2015.

Half of the matching funds will come from the Russ College’s Russ Vision funds, thanks to the transformational $124 million estate gift from alumnus Fritz Russ and his wife, Dolores, with the other half from Ohio University through the Undergraduate Scholarship Investment Program.

Pidwell, a member of the Russ College Board of Visitors and a partner with the venture capital firm Alloy Ventures, said the gift will help build a sustainable environment for educating future innovators. An entrepreneur now based in Silicon Valley, Pidwell’s investments focus on the computer software industry and enterprise information management in particular. In addition to his service to the Russ College, he is a trustee of the Ohio University Foundation and a board member of several privately held corporations.

“These scholarships support the Russ College in its mission as a leading college of engineering and technology by attracting high-quality undergraduate students, and educating those future young professionals who will make a lasting and meaningful contribution to the world,” Pidwell said. “Students applying for Russ college admission and their families are faced with escalating cost barriers for higher education, and I hope to curtail the loss of able and deserving students due to financial constraints.”

Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin said Russ Vision Scholarships are key to making engineering and technology education more accessible and moving society forward by educating more innovators in these fields – like Pidwell himself.

“The ability to participate in the university’s scholarship match program and, indeed, to add income from the Russ Gift, will enable us to ensure the size and characteristics of our incoming class in the future,” Irwin said. “These donors have shown their passion for the college in many ways, but their deepest commitment is to our students, and these gifts show it.”

The gift is part of the Promise Lives Campaign, which surpassed its $450 million goal in April 2014, 14 months ahead of the June 30, 2015, deadline. Already securing more than $452 million, the Campaign continues to raise funds in support of students, faculty, programs, partnerships and select facilities at Ohio University