Dr. Thomas R. Watson
In 1995, Dr. Thomas R. Watson, a Louisville physician, banker, and entrepreneur, donated 1.2 million dollars to the English Department of the University of Louisville to endow a biennial International Conference in Rhetoric and Composition and a Visiting Distinguished Professorship. The gift is a mark not only of Dr. Watson's extraordinary generosity but also of his imaginative and far-sighted vision. He believed in the fundamental importance of a literate citizenry, and of the vital task faced by the liberal arts in educating students to become critical, active, and engaged readers and writers. In Dr. Watson's words, "The use of language and its expression is the foundation for all the various facets of a university. The ability to transmit ideas from research to teaching to general usage is a critical function of education."
An alumnus of the University of Louisville and a board-certified gynecologist, Dr. Watson took an active part in his profession and his community. His contributions to the University of Louisville and to the city mark a legacy of caring and commitment. In concert with his career in the medical field, he served on civic and charitable boards, including the University of Louisville Board of Overseers.
Dr. Watson was born in Graves County, Kentucky on August 16, 1935 and died in Louisville on January 15, 1996. The Department of English is grateful for his generosity and forethought. Our sincere appreciation goes to Dr. Watson, his wife Sylvia Watson Jaegers, and their two daughters, McCall Watson Eng and Emily Watson Ragan.