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Howard D. Colman Memorial Scholarship Fund established

Tuesday, January 12, 2010  
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Posted: Jan 12, 2010 10:21 AM CST
Updated: Jan 12, 2010 10:21 AM CST

ROCKFORD (WREX) - The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois establishes the Howard D.Colman Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The late Ruth Colman Tower named the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois as the beneficiary of her $1 Million Charitable Remainder Trust and requested that the fund be set up to honor her father.

The scholarship fund will be used to enhance regional educational opportunities and training in the fields of engineering, computer science, or a comparable technology.

Background information below from press release:

Howard D. Colman (1873 - 1942) was one of the most gifted American inventors of the 20th Century. Colman was a scientific prodigy who made his own earliest hand tools and taught himself the fundamentals of mechanics and physics. He solved the last great puzzle of textile automation as a young man, and eventually launched a machine-building business in Rockford, IL. that dominated the international market.

According to his biographer, Jon Lundin, Colman was the most important person to ever live in Rockford. "He changed the course of mechanical science in the 20th century in so many different fields: certainly in textiles, in temperature controls, and remote messaging and contributed significantly to the development of one of the world's first digital computers. He also created thousands of jobs here. There were 3000 jobs at Barber-Colman at the time that he died. It's been a wonderful company in terms of its support of the community and historically one of the leaders in supporting charities locally."

Ruth Colman Tower (1907 - 2009) was the third of four Colman children. Inspired by her father's ingenuity and generosity, Ruth created a charitable remainder trust in 1987, naming the Community Foundation as beneficiary, and directing the trust to the establishment of a scholarship in honor of Howard Colman.

Howard Colman, the Colman Family, and the Barber-Colman Company have a long history of charitable support for the Rockford Community. In 1987, when Barber-Colman was sold to a international company, managers from the local company gifted $2.7 Million to the Community Foundation to be used in perpetuity for Rockford College, United Way, and broad community needs. In addition, Howard Colman's children, Edwin, Dorothy, Ruth and Janet (on behalf of her deceased husband, Walter Colman) directed the $500,000 Barber-Colman Foundation to the Community Foundation and established the Howard D. Colman Memorial Fund which each year supports community nonprofits with financial grants.

The Community Foundation was founded in 1953 and is the region's largest provider of grants and scholarships. The Foundation's mission is to attract, preserve and grow a permanent endowment for the present and future needs of the people of Northern Illinois.

This story appeared at on January 12, 2010.

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