It seems especially fitting that Ohio Wesleyan University graduates Michael G. Wise, Class of 1966, and his wife, Elizabeth A. McNaughton Wise, Class of 1964, of Sacramento, California, are pledging $2 million to create an endowed faculty chair in chemistry at their alma mater.
Not only did Michael Wise major in chemistry and economics – later earning his medical degree and becoming a successful psychiatrist – but he and Elizabeth “Buffie” McNaughton, a clothing and business major, also met on campus, sparking a reaction that has resulted in nearly 50 years of marriage. At OWU, Elizabeth was a member of Pi Beta Phi, and Michael was a member and president of Delta Tau Delta.
The couple wants to support OWU’s chemistry faculty, Michael said, because they know the value of natural sciences to a liberal arts education. As a result, they will create the “Michael and Elizabeth Wise Endowed Chair in Chemistry” with a $2 million estate gift. Their commitment comes as they prepare to celebrate both five decades of marriage and Mike’s 50-year class reunion. Their gift supports Ohio Wesleyan’s “Connect Today, Create Tomorrow” capital campaign, which has raised $89 million since the launch of its leadership phase in July 2014.
Heather Grunkemeyer, chair of OWU’s department of chemistry, said the couple’s gift is both meaningful and motivating to current faculty. “The department is truly thankful for donors like the Wise family,” Grunkemeyer said. “To have alumni that feel strongly both about the university and department is a great reminder about the impact we make on our student’s lives.”
The couple married on Saturday, June 18, 1966, and Michael underwent his military physical the following Monday. To the surprise of both, this began Michael’s 21-year career in the U.S. Air Force, including a year in Vietnam. Military service also sent the couple to San Antonio and Amarillo, Texas; Riverhead, New York; Omaha, Nebraska; Cleveland, Ohio; and Boston, Massachusetts. Michael ended his service in San Antonio, retiring as a colonel in 1987.
He earned his medical degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland and had a distinguished career as a psychiatrist both in the U.S. Air Force and later as a professor at several university medical schools. He authored or edited more than 100 articles and 16 books.
After graduation, Elizabeth began her career in market research and marketing at Procter & Gamble Co. and later worked for American Greetings and Datapoint Corp. Since retirement, she has devoted herself to volunteer activities as a master gardener, first in New Orleans, and now through the University of California cooperative extension.
Information for this story was provided by Ohio Wesleyan University.