Couple gives $2.5 million to endow chair in industrial engineering

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An industrial engineering alumnus and his wife have made a $2.5 million gift to the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Penn State for a faculty chair focused on energy and energy policy research.

"Energy and energy policy is one of the most important issues for our nation to address," said Paul Griffin, the Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo Department Head Chair. "Industrial engineering can play an important role in this area for users, providers and policymakers. This includes assisting organizations to use energy more efficiently, developing new decision-support technologies for energy providers for generation and distribution and helping inform energy policymakers of the true costs and risks of energy alternatives from a systems perspective. Having an endowed chair in this area will allow our department to leverage our existing strengths and establish a strong foundation that we can build from to better address energy challenges."

The couple, who wishes to remain anonymous, has arranged for early activation support with annual gifts of $100,000 for five years. The early activation permits the department to expedite the chair's creation and pursue energy initiatives.

Griffin said the gift will fund new energy courses for industrial engineering students, including lab equipment for smart energy modeling; provide matching monies to explore and develop an annual workshop in energy policy for companies, academics and government agencies; and support student work in energy and energy policy research.

An endowed chair is typically awarded to the most distinguished scholar-educators, who have already established themselves as leaders in their fields. Recipients are chosen on the basis of their outstanding contributions as both researchers and teachers, demonstrating a commitment to the future of their field and the future of Penn State students.

This position is a prestigious honor, and resources generated from the endowment are made available to the recipient. By providing additional funds for research projects and curriculum development, a chair allows top faculty to take their scholarship to the next level and integrate discovery and education in new ways.

The couple's gift will contribute to the University's For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The endowed chair will not only build faculty strength at the University but will provide additional funds for student support, all while expanding the department’s research and educational offerings.

The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State's history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

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Last Updated January 29, 2013