James Melsa, Engineering, (515) 294-5933
Tom Mitchell, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-4607
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- A $510,000 gift from the estate of the late Andrew L. Pontius. Sr., a 1931 Iowa State electrical engineering graduate, will increase undergraduate engineering scholarships.

The gift will go toward the Andrew and Marion Pontius Scholarship Fund in the College of Engineering. Pontius Scholarships will be awarded to freshman and sophomore engineering students on the basis of academic achievement. Amounts and numbers of scholarships will vary each year.

"Mr. Pontius had a long, distinguished career in engineering, and his generosity will ensure that many Iowa State students have the same opportunity at success," said James Melsa, dean of engineering.

Pontius, who died April 22, was born in Chicago and raised in Ft. Dodge. During his career he served as plant manager for A.B. Dick Co., Chicago, and president of Powers Regulator Co., Skokie, Ill. He retired as president in the late 1960s. He served on the board of directors of Square D. Corp., Palatine, Ill., from 1969-1979.

Pontius and his late wife, Marion, were residents of Arlington Heights, Ill. They were members of the Iowa State University Foundation's Order of the Knoll. He served as an ISU Foundation Governor from 1985 to 2000. In 1981, he received the Professional Achievement Citation from the ISU College of Engineering.

The couple’s gifts have helped fund several Iowa State projects, including construction of the Durham Computation Center.

"Iowa State’s donors have generously contributed close to $103 million for student financial aid through Campaign Destiny," said Tom Mitchell, president, ISU Foundation. "Scholarships are the single largest area that donors have specifically designated they want their gifts to support."

The five-year Campaign Destiny, which officially ends June 30, is the largest fund-raising initiative in Iowa State history. Since its official beginning in 1995, donors have established more than 500 new scholarship programs to help undergraduate and graduate students throughout Iowa State’s colleges.


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