Richard T. Romer Student Endowment Fund

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The Student Endowment Fund was founded in 2004 to provide a stable source of funding for the District’s Student Initiatives Program with the goal of eventually accruing $500,000. Each year, over $15,000, paid from the Endowment Fund, is spent on student initiatives with the objective of attracting the best and brightest to the transportation profession in the west. The future of the transportation profession depends upon a stable and continuing flow of students who are excited and passionate in the career opportunities afforded by transportation engineering and planning.

The District’s Student Initiatives annually include:

  • Support for the Student Leadership Summit ($1,000)
  • Funding for the Data Collection Fund ($1,000/project for 5 projects)
  • Funding ($1,500) and awards ($300) for the James H. Kell competition held at the Western District Annual Meeting
  • Support of travel for our winning Student Traffic Bowl team to the ITE International Meeting ($1,000)
  • Support of travel to the ITE International Meeting if a Western District student chapter wins the International Student Chapter Award ($1,000)
  • Awards for student chapter annual reports ($100/report for 25 reports)
  • Awards for our student paper winner ($500), outstanding graduate ($500) and undergraduate ($500) students, and outstanding student chapter ($1,000) at the Western District Annual Meeting
  • Sponsoring special events for students and professionals ($250)
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2016 Student Leadership Summit at Cal Poly Pomona

Prior to the inception of the Endowment Fund, these student programs were modestly funded utilizing existing annual operating and annual meeting budgets. This limited the scope of the programs and resulted in the use of operating reserves. In an effort to avoid increasing dues and to assure continuous, stable funding for the current and future student initiatives, the Student Endowment Fund was established to provide a self-sustaining funding source for these programs. The Board projects that the Endowment Fund needs to reach $500,000 to be self-sustaining enough to generate enough annual revenue to support the District’s current student initiatives. Once this fundraising goal is met, the Board will be able to consider the expansion of its student initiatives.

The Student Endowment Fund was renamed the Richard T. Romer Student Endowment Fund in 2013. Richard T. Romer believed in right and wrong, in doing things the correct way without cutting corners, and that ethics were of the utmost importance for public safety and the integrity of any profession. Fittingly, Rich worked as a transportation engineer and had over 41 years of experience in the profession. During this time he served on numerous committees, held elected office at all levels including International President in 2006, and won numerous awards including the Burton W. Marsh Distinguished Service Award and the James L. Pline Award. In addition, Rich led generations of young engineers to continue along his path. He instilled the importance of balancing professional workload with contributions to the professional societies to further grow the transportation profession. There are many engineers who can trace their careers back to Rich and thank him for the path he started them on. The purpose of the Western District Student Endowment Fund is to ensure a “stable and continuing flow of students who are excited and passionate in the career opportunities afforded by transportation engineering and planning.” In the spirit of this mission, ITE recognizes Richard T. Romer by renaming the Student Endowment Fund after an engineer who left behind a legacy of well-trained, well-educated, and enthusiastic ITE professionals.