In Memoriam: Walter E. Blankley

By Andrea Walls | May 7, 2020

Walter E. Blankley and Rosemary Deniken Blankley ’57,’06H with Blankley Scholars

Walter E. Blankley, a beloved member of the Arcadia University community and husband of Life Trustee Rosemary Deniken Blankley ’57, ’06H, passed away on April 27.

Together for 67 years, Walter and Rosemary established an extraordinary legacy at Arcadia, defined by a lifetime commitment to higher education. Walter and Rosemary supported Beaver College and Arcadia University to express their gratitude for the opportunity Beaver College gave to Rosemary. Their dedication to our University’s growth and success has touched every corner of campus, and their generosity has led to major developments in the areas of academic affairs, student life, and financial aid. 

A graduate of Princeton University, Walter received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1957. Walter brought exemplary leadership to AMETEK—a global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices—for 41 years. As CEO, he oversaw the funding of early childhood education programs in all of the 65 cities around the world where the company maintained sites.

Walter and Rosemary, who met while they attended Collingswood High School in New Jersey, married on August 16, 1958, and later welcomed their son, Stephen M. Blankley, and their daughter, Laura Blankley Pantano. 

In 2013, the Blankleys established an endowed chair with a transformative $1M donation, designated for the School of Education. The Rosemary and Walter Blankley Endowed Chair in Education is a testament to the couple’s longstanding commitment to supporting education. Dr. Ellen Skilton, professor of education, was appointed The Rosemary and Walter Blankley Endowed Chair in Education (2014-16), followed by Dr. Kira J. Baker-Doyle (2017-19) and Dr. Marc Brasof (2020-23).

Walter and Rosemary have been consistent supporters of the University’s unrestricted fund, The Fund for Arcadia, often serving as an inspiration to other donors. Members of the Covenant Society, the Blankleys also were two of the first leadership donors welcomed into the Presidents Circle of the Jones Poundstone Society in 2019. 

The Blankleys were the driving force behind the University’s important and transformative student-centered partnership with the Guadalupe Center, whose mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education for children in Immokalee, Fla. The first of 20 Blankley Scholars graduated from Arcadia in 2016.  

The University dedicated the Office of Alumni Engagement—formerly known as Blake Hall, gatehouse of the Harrison estate—in recognition of Rosemary and Walter in 2005. The gateway to campus for many alumni over the years, Blankley Alumni House is also home to the Honors Program and the Office of Social Impact and Innovation, serving as a treasured connection between Arcadia’s past, present, and future. Blankley Field, dedicated in 2000, is home to Arcadia’s softball team, an additional practice facility for soccer and field hockey, and a number of intramural activities.
The Blankleys were generous supporters of the At Home & In the World Campaign, which funded the construction of the University Commons. Since its dedication in 2012, the Commons has evolved into a unique gathering place at the heart of campus, providing larger space for lectures, seminars, art exhibitions, fitness, performances, and more.

The University has maintained a strong relationship with AMETEK, which has led to several successful Trustee appointments. In honor of Walter’s leadership at AMETEK and in memory of him, the company has made a special gift to Arcadia to celebrate all that he meant.