GLASSBORO, N.J. (WPVI) -- Business leader, entrepreneur and Rowan University benefactor Henry M. Rowan died Wednesday, the university announced Thursday.
He was 92 years old.
In 1992, Rowan, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, donated $100 million, the largest gift to date to a public college or university, to then-Glassboro State College with the request that it transform engineering education.
The school was renamed Rowan College the same year, and later changed to Rowan University in 1997.
Rowan, a native of Ridegewood, New Jersey, was the founder and chairman of Rancocas-based Inductotherm Group.
He and his late wife, Betty Long Rowan, started the business in 1953, building their first furnace at their Ewing Township, New Jersey, home. Today, the company employs more than 3,500 people in more than 20 nations, serving customers around the world.
"Henry Rowan's remarkable generosity shaped the University into what it is today, and I have no doubt we will come to see he indeed has helped transform our entire region. The impact Mr. Rowan has made is incalculable, and he has touched many lives because of a desire to change engineering education and give a small school in South Jersey a chance to prove itself," Dr. Ali A. Houshmand, Rowan president, said in a statement. "Rowan University has lost a wonderful friend."
Mr. Rowan and the Henry M. Rowan Family Foundation also donated to numerous other organizations in South Jersey and beyond, including recent contributions to the Williamson College of the Trades in Delaware County, the South Jersey Chapter of Boy Scouts of America and the Doane Academy in Burlington City.
Gov. Chris Christie said, "Mr. Rowan was one of the great philanthropists of our time. There were many ways in which he could have invested in the future. His vision for and commitment to higher education has had and will continue to have a profound impact on the State of New Jersey. He has made a difference in the lives of individual students and in our state."
Information from Rowan University