A. R. and Marylouise Tandy Foundation - Chapman Legacy Society
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Gifts Established:

  • Tandy Endowed Chair in Cyber Security and Information Assurance | Est. 2011
  • Tandy Endowed Chair in Computer Science Engineering | Est. 2011
  • Tandy Endowed Chair in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology | Est. 2011
  • Tandy Chair in Computer Sciences Endowment Fund | Est. 2011
brick engraved with name A. R. and Marylouise Tandy Foundation

A. R. and Marylouise Tandy Foundation

Marylouise (BA ’44) and Alfred Randolph “Bill” Tandy were partners in a family entrepreneurial legacy that made “Tandy” a household name synonymous with innovation and value. Through two exceptionally generous gifts to The University of Tulsa’s computing programs, the Tandy family’s legacy will live on through innovations not yet imagined. In May 2011, the Marylouise Tandy Cowan Revocable Trust and the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Foundation established the Tandy Chair in Computer Sciences Endowment Fund. Esteemed Professor Roger L. Wainwright was selected as the inaugural holder of The Tandy Chair in Computer Sciences.

A second gift from the Tandy Foundation in November 2011 established three additional endowments to fund faculty chairs — The Tandy Endowed Chair in Cyber Security and Information Assurance, The Tandy Endowed Chair in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, and the Tandy Endowed Chair in Computer Science Engineering. Together, these faculty investments represent a major turning point in computing education and research at TU, and in grateful recognition of these gifts the university established the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy School of Computer Science.

The Tandy story began in 1919, when Bill’s father, David L. Tandy, and his brother co-founded the Tandy Corp, a Fort Worth, Texas, leather wholesaler. Over time, the company developed diversified retail holdings – most notably, the RadioShack chain of electronics stores. RadioShack grew to become the largest chain of consumer electronics specialty stores in the world. Among RadioShack’s most significant products was its TRS-80 personal computer, launched in 1977 – a groundbreaking unit that introduced a generation of students to personal computing. It became a desktop staple for many throughout the world in the late 1970s and early 1980s, providing future computer science professionals with their first exposure to computing.

After enlisting in the Army Air Corps on Feb. 28, 1942, Bill served as a pilot. During that time, Marylouise attended college at the University of Texas before completing an art degree at TU in 1944. She and Bill married and had two children – Alfred Randolph “Rant” Tandy, Jr., who briefly attended TU as well as the University of Oklahoma, and Carol Tandy (BS ’78). Although Bill was a director of Tandy Corp., his own career blossomed in Tulsa where Marylouise grew up. He oversaw enterprises of his own including the Tulsa-based Tandy Industries, a property development company specializing in homes and institutional buildings such as dormitories and libraries. He also was the president, CEO and a director of Great Yellowstone Corp., a Tulsa-based oil and gas producer.

While Bill was busy running these enterprises, Marylouise began her own career as a consummate volunteer. She served with the Junior League of Tulsa, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa Education Fund, Tulsa Philharmonic Society, the Community Chest (now Tulsa Area United Way), Tulsa Arts Council, and the Episcopal Church. A lifelong arts enthusiast, she supported arts organizations, including Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum, Tulsa Ballet, and Ruskin Art Club.

Bill died in 1971 at age 49 after a lengthy illness. Two years later, Marylouise married fellow Tulsan Howard S. Cowan, a director of public affairs for Public Service Company of Oklahoma. Cowan had served as an AP correspondent and covered D-Day during World War II. He later acquired other assignments with the Associated Press and state newspapers.

In 1979, the couple combined their interests by moving to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where they purchased the Boothbay Register and Wiscasset Newspaper. Marylouise became publisher of the award-winning newspapers when Howard passed away in 1985. She was associated with the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine, and was a devoted patron of New York’s Metropolitan Opera. She generously supported many other organizations including the Boothbay Region YMCA, St. Andrews Hospital, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, and others. Her genteel pursuits included the breeding of rabbits, especially Netherland Dwarfs and Holland Lops, and she became both nationally and internationally known for her success and knowledge.

In recognition of her remarkable personal and philanthropic legacy, TU named Marylouise a Distinguished Alumna in 1998. The following year, she was awarded the Connecticut College Medal. Marylouise died at her home in Southport Island, Maine, on March 28, 2009. Thanks to the foresight she and Bill Tandy had applied to their estate, their successes continue to create significant opportunities for worthy beneficiaries. TU salutes the transformative generosity and bright examples of its benefactors and celebrates the generations of innovators supported by the Tandy School of Computer Science.