Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

F.C. Austin scholarships

 Person

Businessman Frederick C. Austin (1853-1932) organized the Chicago-based F.C. Austin Manufacturing Company, and was the originator of the first all-steel reversible road machine. In 1927, inspired in part by the generous contributions to Northwestern made by his close friends William Dyche and James Patten, Austin began to discuss his ideas about training young men for business leadership with the university’s president Walter Dill Scott. Austin felt that the business community would benefit from efforts to professionalize business management, and he and Scott devised a plan for what would become the Austin Scholarship.

In 1929 Austin donated the F.C. Austin Building, valued at 3 million dollars, to Northwestern, as well as funds sufficient to support the first ten Austin Scholars, and also executed a contract leaving virtually his entire estate to the university. That fall, the first group of ten Austin Scholars began their course of study. The scholarships were merit-based and provided full room, board, and tuition for four years of undergraduate study in the School of Commerce. The first class of Austin Scholars also received an all-expenses paid fourth year of study abroad in Europe. Ten Austin Scholarships were awarded for each year from 1929 to 1932, but the effects of the Great Depression as well as the death of Austin in 1932 caused the university to be financially unable to continue the program. Following the graduation of the last class of Austin Scholars in 1936, the program was put on indefinite hold.

In 1959 the Austin building was sold and the proceeds from the sale were used to reestablish the Austin Scholarship program. From 1959 to 1966 the Austin Scholarships were granted to 54 students as four-year undergraduate scholarships. In 1967, the School of Business became the Graduate School of Management, and since then hundreds of Austin Scholarships have been awarded for graduate study.

James C. Worthy (1910-1998), a member of the first class of Austin Scholars, became a successful businessman and later returned to Northwestern to teach at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management (1978-1998). Worthy served as the Austin Scholarship Program’s Senior Fellow and, with Walter Dill Scott, co-wrote The Austin Scholarships: A History (1979, rev. 1994).

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Austin Scholarship Program Records

 Collection
Identifier: 12/3/4
Abstract The Records of the Austin Scholarship Program are organized into three subseries: historical/biographical materials, administrative files, and student-related files. Most of the material was collected and saved by James Worthy and reflects his strong commitment to preserving and documenting the history of the scholarship.