In the mid-1990s, Dale and Sonya Margerum wanted to do something special to celebrate Dale’s 65th birthday. Because Dale had been on the faculty of Purdue’s Department of Chemistry for more than 40 years, they decided to establish the Dale Margerum Scholarship/Research Fund to provide undergraduate students with research opportunities. “I did research as an undergraduate,” says Dale, who retired in 2008 and now holds the title Harvey Washington Wiley Distinguished Professor Emeritus. “I thought it was a great experience, and I always encouraged undergraduate students at Purdue to do research.” The Margerums established a charitable gift annuity to support the fund down the road, but the fund is already providing research experience for 1-2 students a year thanks to current donations — including some from Dale’s former PhD students. There are already success stories; Dale reports that one former recipient went on to get his PhD and is now doing postdoctoral training at the University of North Carolina.
“The recognition of receiving this scholarship helps the students in their future pursuits,” says Sonya, who served as the mayor of West Lafayette for 24 years. “It probably is an incentive for students to come to Purdue, too.”