Tarleton State University has received a final gift of $300,000 from the estate of the late provost Dr. Robert C. “Bob” Fain to provide scholarships for students planning to teach secondary mathematics or chemistry.
Fain created the endowment in 1990 in honor of his wife, Patricia, who devoted her entire professional life to teaching math, including 25 years at Stephenville High School. Many former students returned to thank her for preparing them for college math.
“We sincerely appreciate the generosity of the late Dr. Bob and Pat Fain and their philanthropic commitment,” said Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio. “Their gift provides a direct and lasting impact on our students and leaves a legacy for future generations.”
Fain joined Tarleton’s Department of Physical Sciences in 1966 as an associate professor. He became head of the department in 1968 and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences in 1970.
Favored by students and earning the respect of colleagues, he was named dean of academic affairs in 1979 and the university’s provost and vice president of academic affairs in 1980. When he returned to the classroom 16 years later, his stint as university provost and vice president of academic affairs was the second-longest in the nation.
During Fain’s service as provost, Tarleton developed policies on academic admission and retention and created current procedures for faculty promotion and tenure. He served under three university presidents and saw student enrollment more than triple.
Although he spent most of his career in administration, Fain most enjoyed teaching and interacting with students. Many went on to earn advanced degrees, working as professional chemists and serving as administrators at other colleges and universities. One of his students, astronaut and medical investigator Millie Hughes-Fulford, flew with NASA’s first Spacelab crew.
Fain fully retired from Tarleton in 2003 and died Aug. 6, 2016, at age 79.
Scholarships are awarded annually to students majoring in math or chemistry with plans to teach at the secondary level. Students receive part of the scholarship during their freshman year and part upon completion of their first semester in the teacher education program.
Recipients of the Patricia A. Fain scholarship must have a 3.0 GPA and the potential to be certified in math or chemistry.