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Office of Trusts, Estates, and Gift Planning
Cornell University
130 E Seneca Street, Suite 400
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 1-800-481-1865
Fax: 607-254-1204


Beyond the Classroom:
An Academic Invests in Future Generations

Photo of Don TurkWithout Cornell University’s financial assistance, Don Turk, BS ’53, MNS ’57, knows his life would be very different.

The son of a Dryden, New York, poultry farmer, Turk never dreamed he would go to college until Seymour Fowler, his high school science teacher, became a source of inspiration.

“It was unusual at that time for kids from my high school to go on to college,” Turk explains. “But I had considerable encouragement from Dr. Fowler to apply to Cornell.”

Cornell’s scholarship offers, combined with Turk’s parents’ generous offer of free room and board, enabled him to earn two Cornell degrees: a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in 1953 and a master’s degree in nutrition science in 1956. A PhD in biochemistry and nutrition from the University of Wisconsin in 1960 led him to Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, where he remained teaching and researching until retirement.

Today Turk is professor emeritus of food science for the school.

“If it hadn’t been for Cornell,” he says, “I would have been working on the assembly line of a typewriter factory. The scholarships I received at that time determined what my life would be.”

And life is excellent.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it,” Turk says, “but I want to make sure that my successors over the years have the same opportunities available.”

While Turk taught for 30 years at Clemson University, he says that Cornell is the best place to invest in future generations.

“Having been in the academic life for all of my career, and being familiar with many universities, that is a fairly strong statement,” Turk says.

An initial gift established the Laura and Dewey Turk Scholarship Fund, a scholarship named in memory of his parents. First awarded in 1996, the scholarship assists promising students with financial need who study food production, food processing, food distribution, or food utilization. His second gift, in the form of a charitable remainder trust, will continue funding the scholarship in years to come.

“I got very lucky,” he says.

Now, with the Laura and Dewey Turk Scholarship, other deserving students can get lucky, too.