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Wildensteiner engineering office dedicated
Couple honor alumnus with gift
ANGOLA, Ind. — Trine University honored Robert and Eloise McDowell of Damascus, Md., for their gift to the Allen School of Engineering and Technology Friday morning.
The university dedicated the Wildensteiner Civil Engineering Office to the memory of Eloise McDowell’s parents, Otto and Elizabeth.
“It is with pride, humility and gratitude that Eloise and Bob can honor her remarkable parents and allow the family name to live on,” said university president Earl D. Brooks II.
Otto Wildensteiner graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in civil engineering in 1931, the only one of seven siblings to pursue and achieve a college degree. In the height of the Great Depression, he left his hometown of Washington, D.C., to take a job with the Bureau of Public Roads in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tenn.
After taking his new job, Wildensteiner met his wife, Elizabeth “Betty” Wagner, a business school graduate from Cleveland, Ohio, who was working for the Tennessee Valley Authority at the time. After they married, they moved all over the country — from Pennsylvania to Texas — while he was working for DuPont Co.
Wildensteiner’s son-in-law, Robert McDowell, earned a radio engineering degree from Tri-State (now Trine) University in 1955.
“We are so grateful for this gift, especially in a place of higher learning that also proved most significant in Robert’s successful career,” Brooks said.
McDowell worked in the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University until he retired in December 1994, after 39 years of service. The laboratory is a nonprofit center for engineering, research and development.
“This gift was given because of what the university did for my husband, Bob,” Eloise McDowell said of the dedication.
“This department and my degree gave me a whole career,” Robert McDowell said while looking around the office and the numerous supporters in attendance.