By Sotirios Doolen
This past month the Math Department at Drew received an incredibly generous donation, honoring the legacy of a former Drew professor. Norma Gilbert started as a Drew professor from 1964 until 1989 before passing away in 2001. However, her legacy on the campus lives on due to the generous donation of 3 million dollars by her son Dr. Steven Gilbert. Gilbert was a trailblazing educator who ranged from using new technology such as closed circuit televisions to teaching two classes as a dedicated professor. Now with her son’s generosity, Drew is able to continue her legacy of innovation in the field of mathematics.
The donation is the largest ever to Drew’s math department. Drew students should soon be able to see the effects of the donation as Drew plans on using it to search for and hire two new math professors from top universities. This plan received warm response from the student body. After hearing about the possible additions to the department, Math major Fabio Ferraz (’19) responded with an excited remark, “That’s bonkers! I am very excited and have great hope for the new professors.”
Following Gilbert’s interest in innovation, the professorship is structured in a way that keeps talent at Drew from stagnating. The new professors will be generously funded by the donation money until they receive tenure. Once the professor receives tenure, the money immediately returns to search for new professors. As a result of this process, the Drew math department will be guaranteed to stays relevant in its field.
“I think she would say, ‘That’s the best thing you could do with it,’” said her son Dr. Steven Gilbert.
Professor Gilbert made her fortune by writing a statistics textbook for her students after deciding that the textbooks in use were not sufficient for students to fully grasp the subject. The book went on to become an academic best seller, and she used the money from the book sales to invest in Microsoft which at the time it had just gone public. Thirty years later, the fortune she made is being put to use as she would have wanted.
The 3 million dollar donation, which is the seventh largest in school history, helped Drew surpass its $80 million goal for its recent One And All campaign. The campaign was a general fundraising initiative by the school attempted to get funds in all areas for new and old scholarships. The campaign raised an overall of $85 million dollars for the school.