Texas Oilman Endows Scholarship for Black Engineering Students

The new David C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering at Mississippi State University in Starkville

Over the past 20 years Texas oilman David C. Swalm has contributed more than $30 million to his alma mater, Mississippi State University. The School of Chemical Engineering at the university has been renamed in his honor and a new $18 million, 95,000-square-foot classroom and laboratory building has opened.

Swalm, a white man who graduated from Mississippi State with a degree in chemical engineering, invested $6,000 of his own money in 1968 to start Texas Olefins, a petrochemical manufacturing firm. He sold the company in 1996 for $500 million.

Now Swalm has endowed a new scholarship program to benefit black students seeking advanced degrees in chemical engineering. A $3 million endowment will fund scholarships for science graduates of historically black Jackson State University who want to study for a graduate degree in engineering at Mississippi State. In addition to the graduate level opportunities, undergraduate students at Jackson State who want to pursue a course of study in engineering not offered at that university can apply for a scholarship to transfer to Mississippi State.