A donation from the former chairman of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) and the president of Passport HealthPlan will support endowed fellowships at Valparaiso University. The $2 million gift from Don Fites and Joyce Hagen will benefit the College of Engineering and the College of Nursing and Health Professions.
Fites graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1956, while Hagen completed her bachelor’s in nursing at the northwest Indiana campus in 1979.
Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler says "these endowed fellowships will provide resources in perpetuity for faculty to pursue scholarly and pedagogical projects, grow professionally and stay at the forefront of their fields. Their professional advancement will lead to better teaching, research and service for our students and contribute to the growing national and international reputations of Valparaiso University in Engineering, Nursing and the Health Professions."
The funding will support projects including grant writing, publishing, presenting and new course development.
Fites retired from Caterpillar more than 15 years ago after working over four decades with the manufacturer. He also served on boards, including Exxon Mobil, Georgia Pacific and AT&T.
In addition to her leadership at Passport Health, Hagen also served as a national consultant for Ernst and Young and chief marketing and development officer for AmeriHealth Mercy.
“Joyce and I have benefited greatly from the wisdom and dedication of Valparaiso University’s faculty members, particularly in our chosen fields of health care and engineering. These fellowships are our way of saying thanks to those faculty who guided us and to encourage and reward current and future faculty so that they may continue to inspire others, said Fites.
Hagen is a member of the universities board of directors and upcoming fundraising campaign co-chair. Fites was on the board for more than 20 years, beginning in the early 1990s and provided the lead gift for the nearly $13 million Donald V. Fites Engineering Innovation Center (pictured above).