April 17, 2017
Years of experience as a business executive taught Chuck Boehlke ’78 an essential lesson: “All good organizations not only attract good people, they retain good people. And one of the ways they do that is to reward them for their good work.”
His recent commitment of $1.825 million includes the establishment of the Charles A. Boehlke, Jr., Engaged Faculty Fellows program, and does just that. Starting this year, fellowships will be awarded annually to as many as five McDaniel faculty members who provide strong mentorship and experiential-learning opportunities to students, especially within the areas of independent student research, community-supported learning, internship support and study-away experiences.
Faculty members who are named Engaged Fellows each receive a stipend of $5,000 per year or a course release, plus up to an additional $2,000 per year for professional development or other engagement-related work. Engaged Fellows will be named for a two-year period and are not eligible to reapply for a five-year period.
“Strong mentorship and innovative use of applied learning are valuable components of the McDaniel experience,” says Boehlke, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2015. “This gift is designed to recognize professors who do those things really well.”
Boehlke majored in Economics, and says the rigorous coursework and “two-way” conversation encouraged by professors like Ralph Price and Al Law developed his critical thinking and made earning an MBA at University of Miami in 1980 “relatively easy.”
He cut his teeth in finance as the treasurer of his fraternity, Gamma Beta Chi. It was later that he came to appreciate the courses outside his major embodying the full liberal arts experience.
“Sitting in the classroom, you don’t always recognize why it’s necessary, but it all comes together in your career,” he says. “It’s that wide range of knowledge that helps you think outside the box.”
During his 17 years at Black & Decker, Boehlke was promoted to various positions, including chief financial officer for Black & Decker Mexico. Boehlke left Black & Decker for MSC Industrial Direct, a publicly traded distributor of industrial supplies headquartered in Melville, N.Y., where he ultimately served as executive vice president and chief financial officer. He also served on the company’s board of directors until his retirement in 2011.
“The Charles A. Boehlke, Jr., Engaged Faculty Fellow awards celebrate the many ways our faculty support students outside the classroom,” says McDaniel Provost Julia Jasken. “Strong mentorship and quality experiential-learning opportunities are two hallmarks of a McDaniel College education. We are grateful for this gift that gives us the opportunity to honor some of our most engaged faculty.”
The inaugural recipients of The Charles A. Boehlke, Jr., Engaged Faculty Fellow awards are English professor Mary Bendel-Simso, Biology professor Katie Staab, Psychology professor Holly Chalk, Biology professor Cheng Huang and Environmental Studies professor Jason Scullion. Each is dedicated to connecting students’ classroom instruction to meaningful experiential-learning opportunities, such has hands-on research and internships.