$6 million scholarship gift is largest ever for Notre Dame engineers

Author: Notre Dame News

Engineering students in classroom

The College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame has announced a $6 million gift from the Fotsch Family, to establish the William E. Fotsch Family Undergraduate Scholarship in Engineering.

“This is by far the largest scholarship gift for engineering students in the history of Notre Dame,” said Peter Kilpatrick, the Matthew H. McCloskey Dean of the College of Engineering. “The Fotsch family’s generosity will enable numerous aspiring young engineers to attend Notre Dame, undeterred by finances.”

The gift by Geraldine (“Geri”) and the late William E. Fotsch (a 1952 Notre Dame graduate), of Elm Grove, Wis., is one of many made by the couple over the years. “Bill contributed whatever he could every year since his graduation, even when there was little or no money to give,” says Geri. “He always dreamed of doing something really special for Notre Dame.”

The first in his family to attend college, Bill studied engineering at Notre Dame and served in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1957. He began his engineering career with machinery manufacturer Kearney & Trecker, eventually founding his own tool and die company in South Bend, Ind. Bill was, to all who knew him, an indefatigable family man and Notre Dame fan, who lived by the mantra, “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

The Fotsches have eight children—Bill, Dick, Ed, Colleen (Lawton), Bob, Don, Jim, and Tom—and 30 grandchildren; several of their grandchildren now attend Notre Dame or are recent alumni.

The Fotsch Family Scholarship addresses the University’s most enduring funding priority; two of every three applicants for admission to Notre Dame now seek financial assistance. In the current academic year, the University awarded a record $106 million in scholarship aid.

Originally published by Notre Dame News at news.nd.edu on March 13, 2012.