Barry McNamara  |   Published July 24, 2020

$2 Million Gift to Support Sciences

$2 million gift from the estate of Helen McNeel Wiener ’38 supports laboratory space in Center for Science and Business and Bernard A. Wiener Scholarship Fund for Monmouth physics majors.

Monmouth's science programs are housed in the Center for Science and Business on the western ... Monmouth's science programs are housed in the Center for Science and Business on the western edge of campus.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College has received a $2 million gift to support the College’s science program.

The gift is from the estate of Helen McNeel Wiener, a 1938 graduate who died in 2018 at the age of 102.

In 2004, shortly after the death of her husband, Bernard, Wiener set up the deferred gift. She adjusted it in 2010 to designate funds for a lab space in the College’s soon-to-be-built Center for Science and Business, which was completed in 2013, as well as for the Bernard A. Wiener Scholarship Fund for Monmouth physics majors.

The scholarship, which will be awarded for the first time next spring, honors her husband’s education as a physicist, his lifelong interest in higher education, and his ability to think critically to solve problems.

Monmouth Vice President for Development and College Relations Hannah Maher said Wiener’s estate gift is an example how a deferred gift can bolster an institution.

“While academic and fiscal year 2019-20 was by no means a traditional year for any institution, there was a source of comfort in the realization of a large deferred gift that was committed to the College in 2004,” said Maher. “A large deferred gift registry ensures there is likely always a source of future funds committed to the institution that will be realized beyond a traditional cash pledge.”

Bernard Wiener graduated from New York University. A physicist and an aeronautical engineer, he worked for the Weather Bureau, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the Department of the Navy.

Helen Wiener came to Monmouth College from Spokane, Wash., after receiving one of the College’s two United Presbyterian Church scholarships. During her four years on campus, she majored in German, minored in Spanish and was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. In 1940, she earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in library studies from the University of Michigan. During the war years from 1941-1945, she worked in the Medical Science Department for the Detroit Public Library.

Following the war, she moved to Washington, D.C., after accepting a librarian position with the Army at the Pentagon. She worked in technical services and as a cataloger before serving as a director for purchasing for more than 30 years.

Maher said deferred gifts such as Wiener’s estate gift are a “win-win,” as the donor also benefits.

“Using estate gifts as the most common example, we are able to assist donors in fulfilling their philanthropic goals while also often establishing an endowment or larger fund that will not only carry their name and legacy, but that will be a fund that lives on in perpetuity at Monmouth College,” said Maher.

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