Salisbury State is given $1 million for education school University will use gift to attract other donations

March 15, 1997|By David Folkenflik | David Folkenflik,SUN STAFF

Salisbury State University officials announced yesterday that the Eastern Shore campus has received a $1 million gift from a longtime benefactor to endow its education school.

Samuel Seidel, a high school teacher turned insurance executive, gave the school securities worth slightly more than $1 million in December. "I'm a very strong supporter of public education," Seidel said. "We give every year, but this is by far the largest gift."

The school has been named the Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies in honor of Seidel and his wife, Marilyn Seidel.

Campus officials said the money would be used to help pay for merit scholarships for top students, to recruit and train faculty members and to provide new equipment for the school.

The officials said they would try to use the gift to prompt other gifts to the education school endowment, now more than $2 million.

The school has approximately 1,300 students, the largest single component of the university's student body of 6,000.

Samuel Seidel, a lifelong resident of Wicomico County, arrived at the campus in 1939, when it was a normal school, the term for schools that trained elementary teachers. After two years, he switched to the University of Maryland College Park so he could become a high school teacher.

Seidel, 74, said he served six years in the U.S. Navy, mostly in the Pacific, and returned to Maryland to teach at Wicomico High School.

In 1960, he founded the Peninsula Insurance Co., which became one of the largest privately held insurance companies in the state.

It was purchased by a Delaware company in 1988.

The Seidels' three children are graduates of Salisbury State, and Samuel Seidel served as head of the university's fund-raising foundation. In that role, he and Marilyn Seidel made several major gifts to the university, including the establishment of seven scholarships there.

"It's a family tradition which really touches all of us," said Phillip Creighton, the university's provost, or chief academic officer.

Pub Date: 3/15/97

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