$1.4 million gift will support new scholarships for women in engineering, computer science

Publication Date

A new $1.4 million gift from Class of 1980 graduates Rich and Mary Templeton will provide scholarships for incoming women who plan to study engineering and computer science, as well as for first-year students admitted to the Union Scholars program who want to focus their studies on these fields.

The hope is that the scholarships, worth a maximum of $27,000 each, will help the students to graduate debt-free from Union.

“We are grateful for the continued generosity of Rich and Mary Templeton,” said Matt Malatesta ’91, vice president for Admissions, Financial Aid and Enrollment. “This latest gift will help Union continue to attract top students and enhance our mission as a leading institution for the integration of the traditional liberal arts, science and engineering.”

Last February, President David R. Harris announced a $51 million gift from the Templetons during the formal launch of the $300 million “Powering Union: The Campaign for Multiple Tomorrows.”

Students in one of the electrical engineering labs

The gift, the largest ever for the College, will transform engineering and the liberal arts with the creation of the Templeton Institute for Engineering and Computer Science.

In addition to the new institute, the gift will be used in the recruitment and retention of women pursuing a degree in engineering or computer science, enhancements to the curriculum, faculty support, and capital to further develop spaces and facilities.

The latest gift from the Templetons comes as the Class of 2025 begins to take shape. Eligible students would receive $5,500 the first year, $6,500 for sophomore year and $7,500 in their junior and senior years. The total amount matches the federal direct loan maximum of $27,000. Eligible students still receive the scholarship even if they were not planning to borrow to attend Union. They may still also receive a federal direct loan.

In return, the first-year students are required to take an introductory engineering or computer science class. Before their sophomore year, the students must declare engineering or computer science as a major. The scholarship continues with successful progress toward a degree.

“Union is one of the few colleges in the country committed to meeting full need,” Malatesta said. “We are trying to maximize each family’s financial flexibility. We hope these generous scholarships, along with the recent Making U Possible initiatives, can help families from a range of economic backgrounds attend Union.”

Rich Templeton is chairman, president and CEO of Texas Instruments. He joined the company after earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Union. Mary (Haanen) Templeton, a philanthropist and community volunteer, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. She had a 14-year career with General Electric Company before moving to Dallas, the headquarters of Texas Instruments.

Women continue to be underrepresented in engineering and computer science education. According to research compiled by the Society of Women Engineers, in 2019 the percentage of women who intended to major in engineering, computer science or math/statistics, was 7.1 percent, compared to 26.7 percent for men.

Union’s numbers fare better. The percentage of women who intended to major in engineering, computer science or math/statistics in 2019 was 12.5 percent, compared to 25.8 percent for men. However, the College strives to close the equity gap.

In 2020, Union enrolled 32 women engineers and/or Scholars. With the latest gift from the Templetons, the College hopes to raise that number to more than 50 for the Class of 2025.

Daniela Gonzalez of Los Angeles, Calif., applied through early action to Union and was accepted. She also applied to a number of other schools. She plans to major in engineering and minor in studio art. She is excited about the prospect of the scholarship if she attends Union.

“It is great that Union will offer scholarships specifically to female students who are pursuing engineering,” she said. “I’ve known that I wasn't receiving the same amount of resources and support to succeed because I’m a low-income Latina woman. I am excited that Union is encouraging more women to pursue STEM fields. I am waiting to receive all of my decision letters before choosing where I’ll go, but Union is definitely on top of my list.”