Pealer Donation of $2.5 Million to be Dedicated to Students and Faculty

Not long ago, long-time Frostburg philanthropist Woodward Pealer set a record for the largest donation to Frostburg State in university history. Having already donated over $100,000 to the institution throughout his lifetime, Mr. Pealer cemented his legacy with a final donation of $2.5 million.

The late businessman and patron Woodward Pealer lived a full life, serving in the Air Force and as a judge in the Maryland Tax court. When he discovered the university several years ago through Lewis J. Ort and J. Glenn Beall (namesakes of the FSU library and Political Science endowment, respectfully), he and his wife Virginia established the Woodward and Virginia Pealer Endowed Fund in 1990.

Woodward Pealer, whose $2.5 million donation to FSU is the largest in institutional history (FSU).
Woodward Pealer, whose $2.5 million donation to FSU is the largest in institutional history (FSU).

Initially, the Pealer fund was able to benefit one student per year. Over the following years, it grew to helping two to three students a year. With his final endowment, the university has the opportunity to help more students lessen their financial burdens. While the already established scholarship foundation is aimed at assisting sophomores, juniors, and seniors, the most recent contribution will be aiding faculty development as well.

Interim Provost Ahmad Tootoonchi acknowledges the generosity of Pealer and looks forward to the distribution of the donation, particularly concerning faculty development. “The contribution must be used appropriately,” Dr. Tootoonchi explains, expressing how a donation this large can greatly impact the university.

Per his request, Mr. Pealer’s donation will be restricted in distribution: 60 percent of the donation will be for students, while the rest remains for the development of Frostburg State University faculty.

In an interview with The Bottom Line, John Short, Executive Director of the Foundation and Vice President for University Advancement, discussed the predicted longevity of the endowment, stating the funds, once finalized, will do nothing but grow in magnitude over the next years. This will allow for a maximum amount of students to benefit from the donation, potentially decreasing the student debt of FSU graduates.

The funds are expected to be dispersed to students and implemented on campus beginning in the fall of 2017.

In the meantime, the university plans on creating a disbursement procedure. Currently, no public forums or established committees to discuss fund distributions have been announced; updates on planning committees will be released to the campus in the future.

In the coming years, Pealer’s historic donation will not only assist those who struggle to pay for the inflated cost of higher education but will also serve as a reminder and monument to a man who believed in the power of education and community at Frostburg State University.

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