July 17, 2024

UMW Receives Transformational $30 Million Gift for Undergraduate Research and Scholarships

Irene Piscopo Rodgers poses in 2017 with Mary Washington students Kelly McDaniel, Mary Hopkin and Emily Ferguson. The young women represent just a few of the many students who have benefitted through the years from Rodgers’ generosity to her alma mater. Her final gift of $30 million – the largest ever received by the University – will be ‘transformational’ to UMW’s undergraduate research program, providing students with invaluable hands-on learning opportunities for decades to come.

Irene Piscopo Rodgers poses in 2017 with Mary Washington students Kelly McDaniel, Mary Hopkin and Emily Ferguson. The young women represent just a few of the many students who have benefitted through the years from Rodgers’ generosity to her alma mater. Her final gift of $30 million – the largest ever received by the University – will be ‘transformational’ to UMW’s undergraduate research program, providing students with invaluable hands-on learning opportunities for decades to come.

The University of Mary Washington has received a $30 million gift – the largest in the institution’s 115-year history – from the estate of Irene Piscopo Rodgers. A 1959 alumna and lifetime supporter of her alma mater, Rodgers passed away on July 18, 2022, in Huntington, New York.

Rodgers made a name for herself in the field of electron microscopy and helped pave the way for UMW graduates, especially women, to excel in STEM subjects of their own choosing. Mary Washington, as she often said, had “opened worlds” for her. Now, this generous gift – along with others that Rodgers made through the years – will carry on her legacy by helping the University prepare young scholars for successful careers in science, technology, engineering and math for decades to come.

“Students who benefitted from Irene’s generosity welcomed her into their lives, so she was able to observe firsthand the transformative power of her gifts,” said UMW President Troy Paino. “This unprecedented donation guarantees that exceptional students will continue to have access to a UMW education that delivers the kind of high-impact learning experiences that Irene valued so much.”

Rodgers’ gift will grow UMW’s undergraduate research program, Paino said. Students in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, Earth and environmental sciences, computer science and math will have even more opportunities to explore their research interests throughout the academic year and at the University’s Summer Science Institute, working alongside faculty mentors. Mary Washington also offers undergraduate, graduate and accelerated pathways for students aspiring to study law, medicine, engineering, conservation biology, pharmacy, accounting and business analytics through agreements with partner institutions. Read more.