UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A $1 million gift to the College of Engineering will help to enrich the educational experience of students in mechanical and nuclear engineering.
The gift, the Naren and Judith Gursahaney Fund for Excellence in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, was established by mechanical engineering alumnus Naren Gursahaney and his wife Judy of Boca Raton, Fla.
Naren Gursahaney is the CEO and a director of The ADT Corporation, a leading provider of home and small business electronic security, automation and alarm monitoring services in North America.
The Gursahaney Fund is designed to give the mechanical and nuclear engineering department the ability to enhance existing programs and pursue new initiatives that will positively impact engineering students.
"Needs and opportunities change over time, so this endowment is meant to be flexible, to stand the test of time. We wanted this gift to be relevant years from now," Gursahaney explained.
The endowed fund provides annual resources that the department head can direct toward areas such as student research opportunities, innovative research or educational projects and travel expenses for students or faculty to attend conferences.
Karen Thole, head of the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, said the Gursahaney Fund will allow her to invest in education and co-curricular activities, such as undergraduate research, global experiences and technology in the classroom.
"The flexibility of this major gift is key. It allows us to take advantage of opportunities to enrich our students' educational experiences and make sure our curricula stays relevant," she stated.
Gursahaney said he's been impressed with the department's efforts over the past few years, including the Engineering Ambassadors program and partnerships with foreign universities. "Karen has a lot of wonderful ideas. But good ideas need money to make them reality. That's why Judy and I decided to create the fund."
He continued, "I want to make sure that the program continues to produce very well-rounded engineers. Ultimately, I want Penn State to train students who will succeed after graduation."
The new fund is the couple's second major gift to Penn State. The Gursahaneys established the Naren and Judith Gursahaney Trustee Scholarship in the College of Engineering in 2008.
Before his appointment at ADT, Gursahaney was president of Tyco Security Solutions, the largest segment of Tyco International. His extensive experience in enhancing the operational efficiency of multi-billion dollar organizations brought him there in 2003 to launch and lead a company-wide operational excellence initiative. He then served as president of Tyco Engineered Products and Services, a $7 billion division, and its flow control business.
Prior to joining Tyco, Gursahaney spent 10 years in leadership roles at General Electric, including general management, marketing, business development and information technology. He was president of GE Medical Systems Asia, chief information officer of GE Medical Systems and vice president of service for GE Medical Systems Asia.
Before General Electric, Gursahaney served four years with Booz Allen & Hamilton, a leading global consulting firm.
He began his career as an engineer with Westinghouse Electric in the U.S. and Israel, where he worked on the company's F-16 co-production program.
In addition to his bachelor's, Gursahaney holds a masters of business administration in general management from the Darden School at the University of Virginia.
At Penn State, Gursahaney serves on several advisory boards, including one in the mechanical and nuclear engineering department. In 2009, he was honored with the Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award from the College of Engineering, the college's highest honor. In May, he served as the commencement speaker for the college's spring graduation ceremony.
The Gursahaneys have two children, Kayla and Phillip. Kayla will enter her second year studying at Penn State's University Park campus in August.
The Naren and Judith Gursahaney Family Fund for Excellence in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering will help Penn State reach its goals in For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. This initiative is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State's alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity and sustaining the University's tradition of quality. The campaign's top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. 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.