Longtime Newark Teacher to be Honored with Memorial Scholarship for Area DU Students
Posted: August 26, 2002
Three surviving relatives of the late Wilbur R. Powers, who taught mathematics at Newark High School for 25 years (1957-1982), are endowing a scholarship in his memory at Denison University. First preference for the award will go to qualified students from Licking County, Ohio, home of both Newark High School and Denison University. The donors, all first cousins of Powers, are Shirley Claggett Calhoun of Columbus, Bruce Claggett of Newark, and Twila Claggett Granger of Cleveland.
Powers was a 1944 graduate of Denison; he earned a master of arts degree from the University of Michigan and did additional advanced work at Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University). He passed away in 1999 at the age of 77.
A lifelong bachelor, Powers entered the U.S. Navy immediately upon graduation from Denison and served until 1946. He then began his teaching career in Kilbuck High School in Holmes County, Ohio. He also taught in schools in Fredericktown (Knox County, Ohio) and. During his tenure in Newark he rose to be chair of the department of mathematics, and was advisor of the Math Club and Mu Alpha Theta mathematics honorary. He also taught at the Ohio State University's Newark Campus.
While at Denison, he was a member of the American Commons Club and Eta Sigma Phi (Latin and Greek honorary). He was treasurer of the Mathematics Club and president of the Denison Chemical Society.
Denison Mathematics Professor Don Bonar recalls Powers vividly, remarking that they first met when Bonar came to Denison. Subsequently, they met on occasions when he was observing student teachers, attending meetings of the Newark Council Teachers of Mathematics, and at math meetings around Ohio. They served together on evaluation committees, and Bonar was an occasional guest lecturer for Newark High School Math Club.
"Wilbur was a mighty fine gentleman," says Bonar. "He was an excellent educator, and one who loved mathematics."
Even after his retirement in 1982, Powers continued tutoring students in mathematics. He was also an active supporter of the Weathervane Playhouse in Newark. He attended the Primitive Baptist Church.
Robert Hite, executive director of the Center for the Teaching Profession at the Ohio Department of Education, was superintendent of Newark High during the later years of Powers' tenure there. He recalls that Powers was "a very caring person who stayed in touch with a large number of former students."
Powers' three cousins have a goal of building the scholarship endowment to a minimum of $100,000 which will be sufficient to provide annual scholarships for needy Licking County students to attend Denison.
In establishing the scholarship fund, Powers' cousins issued a joint statement outlining their hopes for its continued growth: "The family firmly believes the establishment of this scholarship should be publicized, particularly in Licking County. The sense is that other relatives, friends, former academic associates, and especially former students are a realistic potential for additional contributions in his memory." Individuals desiring to contribute to the Wilbur R. Powers Scholarship Fund at Denison may do so by contacting Curtis A. Thompson, director of major and planned giving, at 587-6637.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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