West Virginia native, WVU alumnus establishes scholarship for business school students

Dr. Robert L. Totterdale characterizes himself as a lifelong learner, and established an endowment in his mother’s name in the academic area that represents the second segment of his life’s education. As a result, the Dorothy F. Totterdale Scholarship will be offered at the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics to foster that desire to learn in management information systems students.

Totterdale is a native of Wheeling, so first preference for the award of the scholarship is given to West Virginia residents from Ohio and Marshall counties. Recipients must be a full-time student at WVU in good academic standing by maintaining a 3.2 grade point average.

“Anything that can be done to cut some of the costs of education — be it books, technology or just any funding that can help students that will allow them to spend a little more time concentrating on their education versus the cost of the education — is valuable,” Totterdale said.

The scholarship was established in 2015 and Totterdale made an additional $25,000 contribution to the fund in late 2016. He is a 1974 statistics graduate of the WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, but also has a strong connection to B&E.

“Upon graduation from WVU, I was talking with my advisor about job opportunities in statistics. The logical thing was to go into actuarial science or a computer science type of field. My counselor said if I didn’t know what I wanted to do, a good place to consider would be public accounting,” he said.

“I needed 12 hours of accounting to be hired by a public accounting firm, and I took those courses through the business school. This is the linkage to my wife Kathy and me creating a scholarship for the business school. Part of it was the acknowledgement of my mother, and part of it was that my career was started at a public accounting firm because I was able to get the accounting credits that enabled me to do that.”

After enjoying a 28-year career in information systems and consulting as a partner with Accenture, Totterdale retired at age 49 and decided his next act would be to further his education, earning both his masters and doctorate at Robert Morris University. Today, he is an assistant professor of information systems at Florida Gulf Coast University.

“Management information systems is a fascinating field that brings together both the technology and business worlds. We are so pleased that our major is able to provide our students such exciting and robust careers," said Virginia Kleist, chair of the management information systems department at B&E.

“For a professional with more than 30 years of experience in both the industry and now academia to not only nurture this type of education at his own institution, but here at West Virginia University, is something truly remarkable. We are beyond grateful to Dr. Totterdale and his generosity to our students.”

In 2003, Totterdale and his brother, Gregory, also established a scholarship for students in the Eberly College in honor of their father, William Totterdale.

“In addition to helping students pursue their dreams with these scholarships, we wanted to recognize our parents’ contribution to our development,” Totterdale said. “Both my mother and father were really supportive of us, helped us get through college. So, this is really kind of a way to honor that.”

The gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The private fundraising effort by the WVU Foundation on behalf of WVU runs through December.

June 14, 2017