Gift finances endowed Heidelberg faculty chair

Heidelberg University has received a gift from an alumna and her husband to help establish its third endowed faculty chair in three years.

Trustee Susan Wolf, M.D., a 1971 graduate of Heidelberg, along with her husband Stephen Reynolds, gave the university $1.5 million to support the natural sciences.

The gift, according to Heidelberg President Rob Huntington, is to endow a chair for the dean of natural sciences.

“This new chair elevates Heidelberg by demonstrating our permanent commitment to support high academic excellence through teaching and research in the liberal arts and natural sciences,” Huntington said.

The endowed chair is to allow Heidelberg to create the new position of dean. The dean will have teaching and research responsibilities along with administrative leadership.

Huntington said the endowed chair enables the university to recruit a top scientist.

“They will join our faculty and provide great leadership in all our natural sciences and across campus,” Huntington said. “It is a bold statement about our long-term academic priorities.”

Wolf is an obstetrician/gynecologist in New York City for The Guild for the Blind. She has served as a professor and researcher along with her private practice. She pursued studies in research for a number of years, originally studying molecular diagnoses of childhood leukemia.

Wolf said she had a profound appreciation for the excellent professors and courses at Heidelberg.

“When I went to graduate school, I realized how truly outstanding they were. They really challenged me,” Wolf said in a release provided by the university.

“We are already strong in the natural sciences,” Huntington said. “Biology, environmental science and chemistry are among our most popular majors and they are growing. Our institutional goals include becoming a better and bigger university by building on these strengths along with other core academic areas.”

Wolf had earned both Ph.D and M.D. degrees with specialties in several fields including pathology.

Wolf joined Heidelberg’s Board of Trustees in 2007 and has supported the university’s $75 million Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence.

“Heidelberg has never had a fundraising campaign dedicated to academics and that’s really what we need,” Wolf said in a release. “It’s one thing to have a beautiful campus, but to gather this kind of academic support is amazing.”

The ACCE total stands at more than $448 million in cash, pledges and estate gifts.

Vicki Ohl, associate dean of natural sciences at Heidelberg, said, “The Susan C. Wolf Endowed Faculty Chair for the Dean of Natural Sciences represents reaffirmation of past performance and evidence of excellence in the natural sciences, as well as confidence in the central position that natural sciences will play in the future of Heidelberg programs and the liberal arts.”

Huntington said Wolf, as a trustee, provides sharp counsel and insight on all academic matters because she wants the university to become even greater.

In addition to the endowed chair, Huntington also announced three more major gifts to Heidelberg in recent weeks, including $250,000 from Trustee Terry Owen, ’63 and wife Edda ’62; $25,000 endowment from religion professor Blake Grangaard and wife Jan; and $350,000 from John Addams, ’58 and wife Patricia for the Patricia Adams Lecture Series.