Norwich University Receives Estate Gift of $3M from Longtime Engineering Professor, Don Wallace

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider announced to trustees on Thursday, April 25, that Professor Emeritus Don Wallace, who retired in 2017 after over five decades of teaching in Norwich’s Mechanical Engineering Department and passed away in November 2018, left in his will over $3 million to the David Crawford School of Engineering (DCSE).

Schneider told trustees that a David Crawford School of Engineering endowment has been created to fund The Donald Wallace Visiting Professor Chair in Engineering; work will begin on renovating and updating what will be called the Donald M. Wallace Materials Testing Laboratory in the basement of Juckett Hall; and a scholarship fund for deserving juniors and seniors has been established.

“Don’s impact on his colleagues and students during his career was profound and he had already left an impact on the university when he retired,” Schneider said. “What we did not know was that Don would have the final say in this story.”

Known for setting very high standards for his students, Wallace joined the mechanical engineering faculty in 1962 in a period poised for national, and global, transformation. With the exception of four years in the 1960s—during which he took a leave to complete a doctor of science in engineering at Columbia University—Wallace was a stalwart presence at Norwich University, rooted firmly in his commitment to train competent engineers.

According to DCSE Director Professor Stephen Fitzhugh, this laboratory upgrade will make significant progress toward DCSE’s goal of renovating all the engineering laboratories.

“Don’s generous gift will appreciably enrich experiential learning in our engineering labs, and provide resources to engage visiting professors who are distinguished scholars or experienced practitioners to enhance our engineering programs,” Fitzhugh said.

Norwich University was the first private school in the United States where students were taught engineering as a separate branch of education.


Professor Don Wallace: the Man, the Myth, the Legend

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). 

Norwich will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders, Norwich launched the Forging the Future campaign in 2014. The five-year campaign, which is timed to culminate in 2019, is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities and is designed to enhance the university’s strong position as it steps into its third century of service to the nation.

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