$10 million Marcus endowment to encourage interdisciplinary research

May 13, 2010

University Park, Pa. – A new endowment established by Harold and Inge Marcus of Olympia, Wash., will support interdisciplinary research by faculty and students in Penn State's College of Engineering.

Valued at $10 million, the Marcus Family Endowment for Engineering Research is intended to foster research spanning engineering, science and medicine.

“It’s not just the engineer working by himself, but with a chemist or physicist,” said "Hal" Marcus, a 1949 Penn State industrial engineering graduate. “That’s where the greatest productivity is in coming up with new ideas and discoveries. There are areas that overlap where faculty and students in these disciplines can work together and be productive.”

David Wormley, the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering -- a position previously endowed by a gift from the Marcuses -- noted that "we’re seeing more and more groundbreaking work being conducted by teams of researchers that include engineers, scientists and doctors from all walks of life. This new Marcus endowment will allow us to spur innovation among our students and faculty.”

Income from the endowment will fund research projects and graduate fellowships, with at least 10 percent supporting research and fellowships in industrial engineering.

The Marcuses are among Penn State’s most generous donors and were honored by the University as its 2003 Philanthropists of the Year. The couple’s major gifts include:

  • -- a $500,000 endowment in 1995 to create the Marcus International Exchange in Industrial Engineering between Penn State and the Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology;
  • -- a $5 million gift in 1998 to the industrial engineering department, subsequently renamed the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering in appreciation of the donors' generosity;
  • -- a $5 million endowment in 2003 to establish the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean’s Chair in Engineering;
  • -- a $1 million gift to support the Center for Service Enterprise Engineering in industrial and manufacturing engineering.

The college honored Hal Marcus with its Outstanding Engineering Alumnus Award in 1998.

A Brooklyn native, Hal Marcus spent much of his career working in industrial engineering and management consulting before becoming involved in real estate. He is president of Hal Marcus Inc. and American Villages Inc., real estate development and management companies. In addition to his bachelor's degree from Penn State, he holds a master's degree from the University of Southern California.

Inge Marcus is a native of Copenhagen, Denmark, and holds a bachelor's degree in biology from St. Martin’s University in Olympia and a master's degree in health sciences from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She is a retired assistant professor of biology at St. Martin’s University.

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Last Updated May 26, 2010