In 1998, the University of Southern Indiana received a generous gift from the Robert H. and Elaine H. Pott Foundation to endow the College of Science, Engineering, and Education. The College was named in honor of these donors. Income from the Pott Endowment provides funds for student scholarships, scientific equipment purchases, and professional development support for College faculty.
Robert Pott was an engineer and inventor who lived in Evansville in the 1920s and '30s. Mr. Pott's most important invention was the impact wrench, a tool he developed and patented. This tool, which was marketed as the Ingersoll-Rand Pott Impact Wrench, was revolutionary for its ability to remove nuts and bolts that could otherwise not be removed except by chiseling or burning with a torch. The first sales were made largely to railroad shops, shipyards, oil refineries, and automobile assembly plants. Over the years, the tool has been modified and improved and today continues to be an important fixture on hundreds of assembly lines in many kinds of industries.