$10 million gift endows dean's chair, ethics institute director

University Park, Pa. -- In recognition of strong innovative leadership in Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts and the Rock Ethics Institute (REI), Doug and Julie Rock of The Woodlands, Texas, have made two gifts totaling $10 million in honor of the current dean of the College, Susan Welch, and the current and founding REI director, Nancy Tuana. The first $5 million gift will create an endowed dean’s chair in the college and a second $5 million gift supports an endowed directorship in the Institute, which was created by the Rocks with an earlier $5 million gift a decade ago.

Doug is a 1968 psychology graduate of Penn State. For more than 20 years, he served as president, chief executive officer, and chairman of Smith International, a global provider of oil and natural gas exploration and development products and services, which is now part of Schlumberger Limited. Julie is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University and a former human resources and management training manager at Smith International.

The Rocks have chosen to honor Susan and Nancy for the strategic advances under their leadership by naming the endowments the Susan Welch Dean’s Chair in the College of the Liberal Arts and the Nancy Tuana Directorship in the Rock Ethics Institute.

"Both Susan and Nancy have done a phenomenal job positioning us as a national leader, respectively with the College and the Institute, going way beyond what Julie and I had thought possible," said Doug Rock. "Our goal is to also ensure that their legacy remains sound during and beyond their tenure particularly in these challenging economic times, and that their successors are well positioned to continue moving the College and REI forward."

Susan Welch, dean of the College, said, "These marvelous gifts are truly breathtaking. These gifts are a wonderful validation of the planning and hard work done over two decades by our department heads, faculty, and staff, as well as the leadership of Nancy Tuana and her colleagues in the Rock Ethics Institute. With the University facing the largest appropriation cut ever proposed in the history of U.S. higher education, Doug and Julie's endowment will not only preserve the outstanding progress we've made in our College but also allow us to develop important new initiatives in teaching, research, and outreach to the larger society. This gift will most certainly allow us to continue on the path of national leadership among public liberal arts colleges."

Both the dean’s chair and the Rock Ethics Institute directorship endowments will provide current and future support for strategic investments in programs, faculty and students. New initiatives might include retaining or recruiting the best faculty with supplemental funds, enabling current faculty to innovate new hands-on learning experiences for undergraduates, or seeding new graduate students in fledgling programs such as a dual degree bioethics Ph.D.

Nancy Tuana noted, "This new gift will ensure that one of the legacies of a Penn State education is ethical literacy and ethical leadership. We will be able to ensure that our work engages a wider community of Penn State students, faculty, and friends. While our research initiatives are already achieving national and international recognition, this support will enable us to reach even farther to enhance the impact of our ethics scholarship."

Doug and Julie believe that today’s college graduates need to learn and value the role of long-term ethical leadership in their professional careers and in their personal service to their communities and the nation.

"In 2001 [when the Rock Ethics Institute was founded], I said the country has a need for strong ethical leadership: Technology sprints around the track of progress while humanity gasps to keep pace. In tomorrow's world, humanity must win this race. The stakes are high," said Doug.

"It is difficult in the real world to find leaders who have a long-term view and who inspire others to help make their vision come true," he added. "It’s been our honor to be the angel investors in Susan’s and Nancy’s noble accomplishments, which deserve celebration now and well into the future by the naming of the endowments after them."

Doug and Julie serve on the Rock Ethics Institute’s external advisory board and have supported the Department of Psychology and the University Libraries. Named an Alumni Fellow and Distinguished Alumnus, Doug also is a member of the College of the Liberal Arts Development Council and the University’s Campaign Executive Committee.

The Susan Welch Dean’s Chair in the College of the Liberal Arts and the Nancy Tuana Directorship in the Rock Ethics Institute will count toward the goals of a University-wide fundraising initiative, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. The campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State’s history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014. Support for Penn State’s faculty and academic leaders is a top priority of the campaign. The Susan Welch Dean’s Chair is the fourth such endowment to be created at University Park by alumni and friends of Penn State. The overall dean’s chair endowments are the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean’s Chair in the College of Engineering; the John and Becky Surma Chair in the Smeal College of Business; the Raymond E. and Erin S. Schultz Dean’s Chair in the College of Health and Human Development; the Verne M. Willaman Dean’s Chair in the Eberly College of Science; and the Albert and Suzanne Lord Chancellor's Chair at Penn State Abington.

Last Updated December 14, 2011