$270,000 Gift Creates Walter E. Panse Scholarship: A Gift Continuing to Grow
Since 1998, the SME Education Foundation has provided over $4.0 million in financial aid through its scholarship program. This year, 140 students received scholarships.
DEARBORN, Mich., July 12, 2010—In the winter of 1974, Walter E. Panse, a Michigan tool and die executive, read an article published in the winter edition of the SME News & Technical Digest, "Tool and Die Men—a People Shortage." He decided he wanted to help and donated $10,000 to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Endowment, a very generous first gift to his passion and belief in the importance of U.S. manufacturing.
Today, the SME Education Foundation announces the creation of the Walter E. Panse Scholarship with a $270,000 gift from his estate. The new scholarship will be available in 2011 to North American undergraduate students studying engineering and technology.
Walter Panse and other visionary men and women cared about the future of an industry and did something to support its future. According to an Industry Week article (June 23), referencing the 2010 Global Manufacturing Competitive Index, a research report from Deloitte's Global Manufacturing Industry Group and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, difficulties accessing the right kind of talent are likely to contribute to the United States becoming less globally competitive in the next five years.
The SME Education Foundation, working with academic institutions, business and industry, is addressing this lack of talent problem by focusing on young people, beginning in the sixth grade. The Foundation encourages tougher, more challenging courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, and provides programs, financial support and college scholarships made possible with endowments established by people like Mr. Panse.
Bart A. Aslin, director, SME Education Foundation, says, "We have reached critical mass. I would encourage people concerned with the state of American manufacturing and a return on their investments to consider Mr. Panse and his contribution and consider it a lesson learned. When competitiveness reports such as Deloitte's show us show us the United States slipping in rank from fourth to fifth by 2015, the highest ranking country to show a decline—while China and India remain as the leaders, we need to be proactive and consider making a difference as he did."
Mr. Panse joined the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) in 1949 while living in Dayton, Ohio. At that time he was president of A. Reich Machinery Rebuilding Company. He previously had served as a tool maker for Dodge Brothers, general superintendent for Congress Tool and Die Company, and manager of Experimental Tool and Die Company.
In 1950 Mr. Panse organized the firm of Plymouth Gage and Tool where he served as its president and CEO until 1964, at which time it was sold to Federal Mogul Corporation. Mr. Panse was active in many philanthropic and humanitarian areas including leadership for a number of years in the Exchange Student Program of Rotary International. Mr. Panse, who died in 1982, was a Life Member of SME and is now included as a member of the SME Education Foundation's Heritage Society, which recognizes individuals who, through their estate planning, have named the Foundation as a beneficiary in their will or trust, or established a giving vehicle such as an annuity or remainder trust.
Since 1998, the Foundation has provided over $4.0 million in financial aid through its various scholarship programs. This year, 140 students have received SME Education Foundation scholarships. These have included graduating high school seniors, current undergraduates and masters or doctoral degree students pursuing degrees in manufacturing and related fields at two-year and four-year colleges. To find out more information about SME Education Foundation scholarships and how to apply, visit www.smeefscholarship.org.
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