Meet our Donors

Dr. Willie Rockward, SPS Donor

“I’m a giver.” When Dr. Willie Rockward speaks those words, you can tell philanthropy is a meaningful part of his life. Growing up in the bayous of Louisiana, he was always taught it is more rewarding to give than receive, something that has guided him during his career.

Dr. Rockward’s contributions to the physics community is immense. Not only does he serve as professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics at Morgan State University, but he is also the immediate past president of both the National Society of Black Physicists and the Sigma Pi Sigma Physics honor society. His commitment to students is unwavering and makes AIP extremely grateful to call Dr. Rockward a philanthropic partner.

It was almost 12 years ago that Dr. Rockward was introduced to AIP. He was a SPS zone 6 councilor, which meant he was responsible for chapters in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Puerto Rico, and was attending his first National Council meeting. Dr. Steven Feller chaired this meeting and not only challenged the entire council to give, but also promised to match all gifts dollar for dollar. This challenge inspired Dr. Rockward to make his first gift, because, after all, if others would be asked to support SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma, he felt a responsibility to be one of the first. Ever since that day, Dr. Rockward has made an annual SPS gift.

“SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma are springboards for students to get into the physics community and pursue a career.” If Dr. Rockward wanted you to remember one thing about AIP’s student programming that is certainly at the top. Physics is hard enough academically, and he is passionate about giving students extra support, whether financially or other, to strengthen their support system in a challenging field. To Dr. Rockward, that is his responsibility as a professional.

Dr. Rockward once mentioned, “The strongly held belief of SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma is physics is for everyone because everyone does physics.” It is a sentiment that runs strongly at AIP, and through his support of SPS, Dr. Rockward is fostering future generations of physicists and continuing to make physics accessible. It’s supporters like Dr. Rockward that inspire our work and make AIP programs thrive.