Merrill Roth, a plastics industry pioneer and former owner of Grant & Roth in Hillsboro, Ore., has established a scholarship fund in memory of his wife, Ivy A. Roth, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1994. Roth and his wife were married 57 years. Roth opened the fund with $50,000 in an interest-bearing account for the Department of Engineering Technology at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. Each year, a $2,500 scholarship will be given to a female student who wants to enter the field of plastics engineering.
Kathleen Kitto, chair of the Department, said it has six programs, including one in plastics engineering technology. How-ever, she said, students in other departments - such as materials, composites and manufacturing - also take the plastics core courses offered.
``Plastics cuts across almost all the other programs,'' Kitto said.
The plastics engineering program offers injection molding, thermoforming, blow molding and extrusion to give students a variety of hands-on experience. The department also has new computer numerically controlled mold-making equipment, and it hopes to add Pro/Engineering computer-aided-design and manufacturing software in the near future. Currently, WWU is searching for another faculty member in plastics engineering technology, to accommodate increased enrollment in the program.
Kitto said there are five female students in the plastics engineering program.
``There's not a lot of women in engineering technology programs anywhere, so it would be good to have more women to provide peer support,'' said Kitto. ``It's good for someone like Merrill to provide this support for them.''
Roth said he believes his late wife would be proud of the scholarship for women.
``She spent nearly her whole life in the plastics industry, and sometimes women have a hard time being taken seriously in this business,'' he said.
``Ivy worked hard at Grant & Roth - in fact, she almost managed the place - for 30 years,'' Roth said.