Bill J. and Margaret M. Pope Endowed Scholarship Fund
In February 1997 the Popes gave a large gift to the UVU Foundation. A portion of the money helped to create the Colorado Plateau Field Institute Fund to promote a field study of the natural sciences and to facilitate educational activities. The remaining portion of the gift established the Bill J. and Margaret M. Pope Endowed Scholarship Fund, awarding scholarships to deserving students each year.
Bill J. Pope set his sights on a career as a chemical engineer at the young age of 13. His first laboratory, in the basement of his childhood home in Salt Lake City, was closed at the request of his family after a few explosions rocked the house. As an inventor and entrepreneur, this spirit of adventure and exploration was the driving force in Bill’s life.
Bill met Margaret McConkie in the library at the University of Utah, where they were both students. On September 10, 1943, they were married. Bill’s career began while serving three and a half years in the Infantry and Engineering Corps during World War II. After completing master and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering, he joined the American Oil Company and worked in the research department for seven years. In 1958 he was invited to join Brigham Young University’s chemical engineering department as an associate professor.
Bill’s keen, innovative mind led him to found the Megadiamond Corporation with two other BYU professors during his tenure as chair of BYU’s chemical engineering department.
Bill served as chair of the board of US Synthetic Corporation, a company founded by the Pope’s only son, Louis. Of Bill’s entrepreneurial successes he states, “Take a good idea, then surround yourself with talented people who can help make that dream come true.”
Creativity and ingenuity have also played a major role in the life of Margaret Pope, an accomplished lecturer, author, and hostess, as she has supported Bill through the years of their marriage, four children, and 28 grandchildren. Margaret, who has always believed in the importance of a home focused on the family, states, “Our lives have been our family, education, and church service – each of those facets enhancing the other.”
As a lasting legacy to this tremendous couple who have given so generously, a science building on the UVU campus has been named the Bill J. Pope Science Building.