Article by Julie Waechter, special to Adams State

In December 2023, the Adams State University Foundation established the John E. McDaniel Foundation, a special fund endowed by the remaining assets of the John E. McDaniel Living Trust. The initial fund balance was $4,160,442.44 – the second largest single gift to the Foundation ever. This additional sum brings the total dollars contributed by McDaniel to $5,252,994.51. The revenue generated by the Foundation supports the McDaniel Scholarship Program and the McDaniel Fellows Program, both managed by the Adams State University Foundation.

Dr. John E. McDaniel
Dr. John E. McDaniel

A legendary professor, McDaniel joined the Adams State faculty in 1967 and remained excited about history, politics, and teaching his students for the next 40 years. Retiring as Professor Emeritus of History in 2007, he died May 2, 2023. The John E. McDaniel Foundation represents his stated wishes for the disposition of his assets: “for the benefit of students at Adams State University,” according to Dr. Ed Crowther, who was trustee for the McDaniel Living Trust and is current President of the Adams State University Foundation.

“Three things stand out to me,” Crowther reflected. “First, John wanted to provide money for students to gain an education. The McDaniel Foundation ensures that money will be available for students far into the future. Second, John was determined to give five million dollars to Adams State, an aspiration he had articulated in the 1990s and reiterated often in his last months and days. He did that. Finally, John lived a full life, with travel to the Metropolitan opera and foreign lands, but he was a disciplined saver and investor. He gave over one million dollars to Adams State while he was alive and then left a legacy of over four million dollars, derived largely from investment earnings from his salary and then from his pension as a college professor.”

Initially created in 1996, the McDaniel Scholarship program consists of 39 half-tuition scholarships named after McDaniel’s family, friends, and former students. The scholarships support students across campus. During the 2023-24 academic year, awards supported students in Business, Counselor Education, English, History, Political Science, Mechanical Engineering, Music Education, Nursing, Psychology, and Teacher Education. Adams State President David Tandberg, Ph.D., credits the McDaniel Scholarship as the primary reason he remained in college and graduated.

The McDaniel Fellows Program was established in 2013 to fund community and campus employment opportunities for 12 students each year. McDaniel’s goal was to help students gain work-place skills and experience that would lead to their full-time employment upon graduation. The Adams State University Foundation provides a 100 percent match to McDaniel-generated dollars.

McDaniel earned a Ph.D. from the University of Texas and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Christian University. He was a Fulbright Scholar and an officer in the US Air Force. From 1995 to 2007, he served as the Adams State Faculty Marshall. In 2012, the newly renovated Education and Social Sciences Building was dedicated as the John E. McDaniel Hall in his honor. In 2019, McDaniel was inducted into the Coleman Independent School District Hall of Fame. After his retirement, McDaniel joined the Adams State University Foundation, and was serving as vice-president and chairing the nominating committee at the time of his death.