Wittmer Gift Results in Scholarship Opportunity for Engineering Students

Alumnus Leon Wittmer and his wife, Mary, have created the Wittmer Family Endowed Scholarship in Electrical Engineering.
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Alumnus Leon Wittmer and his wife, Mary, have created the Wittmer Family Endowed Scholarship in Electrical Engineering.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas alumnus Leon Wittmer and his wife, Mary, of Germantown, Tennessee, are supporting Campaign Arkansas through the creation of the Wittmer Family Endowed Scholarship in Electrical Engineering. The $100,000 scholarship fund combines a $50,000 gift from the couple and a $50,000 match from the Medtronic Foundation.

“This is a wonderful way to support and encourage our electrical engineering students,” said John English, dean of the College of Engineering. “Electrical engineers are at the forefront of our rapidly changing world, and at the College of Engineering, we want to ensure that every student with the desire and the skills to obtain an electrical engineering degree is given that opportunity. The Wittmer family and the Medtronic Foundation have made an important contribution toward that goal.”

The Wittmer Family Endowed Scholarship in Electrical Engineering will provide financial assistance to sophomores, juniors or seniors who are enrolled full-time and pursuing a major in electrical engineering. Consideration will be based equally on merit and financial need.

“I really wanted to pay tribute to those who helped with my career,” Wittmer said. “I was a first-generation college student and wanted to help others who might be in similar situations as me. This scholarship is something that will outlive me and will continue to give others opportunity into the future.”

The Wittmers both grew up in Iowa, but Leon Wittmer’s parents had a connection to Arkansas.

“I’d been through Arkansas and had seen Fayetteville,” he said. “I fell in love with the campus.”

Wittmer earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and went to work for Intel on the West Coast after graduation. He and Mary then moved to Minneapolis, where he worked for Honeywell.

In 1983, Wittmer joined Medtronic, a company specializing in medical technology. He retired from the company as their director of information technology after nearly 34 years of service. Mary Wittmer spent more than 40 years in the medical profession as a registered nurse.

“When you look back over your career, you think about the impact – the people who gave me the background and skills to have the career I had,” Leon Wittmer said. “I wouldn’t have had the career I had without the university. It gave me good memories and the opportunity for a great education.”

The Wittmers are members of the Arkansas Alumni Association and the Chancellor’s Society.

About Campaign Arkansas: Campaign Arkansas is the ongoing capital campaign for the University of Arkansas to raise private gift support for the university’s academic mission and other key priorities. The campaign’s goal is to raise $1 billion to support academic and need-based scholarships, technology enhancements, new and renovated facilities, undergraduate, graduate and faculty research, study abroad opportunities and other innovative programs. The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in a wide spectrum of disciplines as it works to fulfill its public land-grant mission to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource and catalyst.

About the College of Engineering: The University of Arkansas College of Engineering is the only comprehensive doctoral-granting engineering program in the state of Arkansas. The college offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in nine engineering fields, as well as incorporating distance learning and interdisciplinary programs. Faculty in the College of Engineering conduct research in many key areas, including electronics, energy, healthcare logistics, nanotechnology, transportation and logistics.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. 


Jennifer Holland, director of development communications
University Relations
479-575-7346, jholland@uark.edu


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