Franklin & Marshall College will have more endowed financial aid to support talented students and students will enjoy new research opportunities, thanks to a $1.5 million bequest from Mary B. Hyman and the Sigmund M. Hyman Foundation.
Mary Hyman is a member of F&M's Board of Visitors and a member of the Founders Society. Her husband, Sigmund '47, who died in 2002, was a longtime member of F&M's Board of Trustees, past president of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, and a Diplomat lacrosse student-athlete. The gift from their foundation will be split evenly between two College objectives. The Hymans established a scholarship fund years ago, which will be enhanced by the bequest. The balance of the gift goes to a student research fund, administered by the Office of the Provost, which will award research fellowships to students in the natural sciences, business and economics.
"The bequest from the Hyman Foundation is crucial because it supports two of our strategic priorities," Franklin & Marshall President Daniel R. Porterfield said. "The Hymans have supported scholarships to provide opportunities to outstanding students and now they are providing a richer academic experience for students through research funds. We at F&M are grateful for donors who provide an outstanding liberal arts education for students from all backgrounds, while also doing everything possible to make those students successful."
Mary Hyman retired in August 2016 after 46 years in education. She was coordinator of the Institute for Child Care Education at Loyola University Maryland, where she previously served as coordinator of science education programs. She noted that her husband, an F&M economics major, was a successful financial planner, so the student research fund addressed both of their passions.
"I'm a big believer in hands-on learning," she said. "You need more than learning concepts in a classroom. My years in science education made me aware of the lack of science literacy in our nation. We live in an increasingly scientific and technological age, and it’s necessary to promote more emphasis on science with observation, experimentation and laboratory work in a number of disciplines through field study.
"My husband always said that some of his most valuable education at Franklin & Marshall came in an economics class in which the students took a small local company and researched and analyzed its hiring practices, its cash flow, its supply chain and all the other aspects of the business," Hyman continued. "His work as a financial planner was diversified and included clients of all sizes. That class helped him understand the concerns of the people running those companies."
She also noted the lasting effects of student-faculty research. "It often produces more valuable research than either the faculty member or student could do individually. It helps to strengthen the rapport between the student and the professor, which often leads to mentoring that lasts for years and is valuable in all sorts of ways—graduate-school recommendations, job references, professional networking and more. Plus, it's valuable experience for the students, especially in these fields. How else are they really going to discover whether they like research and have a talent for it?"
Before her service at Loyola, Hyman was director of education for the Maryland Science Center. She has earned numerous awards, including the Johns Hopkins University Award for Meritorious Service, the Governor of Maryland's Distinguished Women Award and the Contributions to Science Education Award from the Maryland Association of Science Teachers. She serves as a board member of the Goucher College trustees, the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and the Maryland Science Center Scientific and Educational Council.
Hyman summarizes her fondness for Franklin & Marshall with a memory about the Center for Talented Youth. "Shortly after I earned my master's degree at Johns Hopkins, the university developed the Center for Talented Youth," she remembered. "That program has grown tremendously over the decades; it's in places like Hong Kong and Ireland now. But in the beginning, I helped put together some of the courses because I knew some of the master teachers, and CTY was looking for its first summer residential sites for the program. I told Sig about it and he said, 'I'll call Franklin & Marshall! It's the perfect place!' Now, more than 30 years later, the campus still hosts CTY students every summer. That makes me very happy."