Professor emeritus pledges $1M to College of Engineering
Professor emeritus Alvin T. Greenspan has pledged $1 million through his estate to establish an endowed scholarship that will provide full-time tuition support to four undergraduates in the College of Engineering. The four Greenspan Scholars will be selected based on academic merit and
Teaching came naturally to professor emeritus Alvin T. Greenspan. Although he never set out to be an educator, he continually found himself at the front of a classroom, first in the Air Force and later at the College of Engineering.
Now Greenspan has pledged $1 million through his estate to establish an endowed scholarship that will provide full-time tuition support to four undergraduates in the College of Engineering. The four Greenspan Scholars will be selected based on academic merit and financial need.
Greenspan began his teaching career as an aircraft engineering officer in the U.S. Army Air Force. When he discovered gaps in the servicemen’s mechanical skills and knowledge, he set up a school on the base in Roswell, N.M., to provide training. Later, Greenspan sought to enhance his own skills and knowledge by pursuing a formal degree at Drexel University, a dream that was made possible only through a scholarship. Said Greenspan, “I always hoped that in some way I would be able to repay the opportunity that was given to me.”
Even before he gained the resources to establish a scholarship fund, Greenspan was finding ways to give opportunity to others. At Drexel, he mentored less-experienced students by hiring them — in a time before work-study programs — as employees in his startup company, Campus Industries. While earning money for college, the students gained hands-on engineering experience working closely with Greenspan to develop and produce the world’s smallest engine, which ran model airplanes. One of the engines developed by Campus Industries is on display at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
After completing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, Greenspan followed his entrepreneurial spirit and founded Reinforced Plastics Inc. He served as president and chief executive officer after the company became a subsidiary of SL Industries. During that period, Greenspan began teaching in the College of Engineering, starting out with a course that met one evening a week. He discovered that he enjoyed teaching and that he especially enjoyed working with Temple students, whom he found to be motivated, hardworking, talented and deserving.
Greenspan was known for always engaging students and conveying complex subjects in a way his audience could understand. Ronald C. Kerins Jr., who took a course in fluid dynamics with Greenspan, said, “Without his guidance, I wouldn’t know the difference between ‘turbulent’ and ‘laminar’ flow, not to mention the merits of the Bernoulli equation!”
Classroom duties changed to administrative duties in 1971 when Greenspan was named chair of the mechanical engineering department. In each role that he played, he set standards of academic excellence and inspired students to succeed.
Temple became a tradition for Greenspan’s family. Two of his sons were graduated from the Beasley School of Law, a third son from the School of Medicine, and his daughter-in-law from the College of Education. One of Greenspan’s granddaughters recently earned a degree from the College of Liberal Arts, and a second granddaughter is in her second year at the Law School.
Today, Greenspan continues to work part time for the College of Engineering. Since retiring from formal teaching duties, he visits his office several times a week, consults with the dean on the direction of the college, and helps facilitate Alumni Association meetings. He also supports the school by making contributions to another scholarship in the College of Engineering, which he established many years ago.
“Alvin Greenspan has been a loyal educator, volunteer, donor, and friend to the College of Engineering for almost 40 years. His dedication to the college is truly unmatched,” Engineering Dean Keya Sadeghipour said. “I rely on Al’s continued input and value his counsel tremendously. It makes sense that the college’s largest pledge to date has come from Al.”
Jennifer Fuges, the director of development for the College of Engineering, said, “These scholarships will make a big difference in the lives of many students. The endowed fund is a fitting legacy for Al and a testament to his commitment to undergraduate education at Temple.”
“I have only the fondest feelings for Temple,” Greenspan said, “and I am a firm believer in the Conwellian philosophy of providing educational opportunity and excellence to students from all walks of life. I am thrilled to be able to participate in Temple’s mission by establishing this scholarship fund."
- By Kim Fischer and Katrina Myers