IE department receives $1 million gift for service engineering initiative

Amanda Bucher
August 21, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering has received a $1 million gift from engineering alumnus Charles Schneider and his wife Enid for an initiative to increase the department's educational and research work in service engineering.

Service engineering is the field of research and education dealing with the design, planning and control of operations and processes associated with delivery of service. In the United States, production and delivery of services has surpassed manufacturing as the largest component of the nation's gross national product.

"By providing a cutting-edge curriculum with special offerings in service engineering, we want to ensure that our students become the leaders of this emerging area," said Paul Griffin, the Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo Department Head Chair.

As the founder and CEO of U.S. Security Associates, a service company with 46,000 employees, Chuck Schneider understands the importance of employing well-trained engineers in the service sector. "We have long felt that our students, Penn State and the economy, in general, would benefit by an engineering focus on service operations," he said.

He added, "Employment in the service sector now exceeds 80 percent of all employment, but service processes have not received nearly the same attention as those in manufacturing and other much smaller activities. Opportunities abound for Penn State graduates to increase the productivity and quality of such major service sectors as health care and governmental services through the application of better-engineered processes. We are very pleased to support Penn State's efforts to advance the science of service engineering."

Griffin said, "While we hope to expand our educational and research efforts in the service sector, service engineering is not a new topic in the department." In 2003, the department established the Service Enterprise Engineering Advisory Board to help guide its undergraduate and graduate curriculum, as well as to identify emerging research areas. Schneider has served as the board's chair since its inception.

As a result of the board's input, service engineering was added to the undergraduate curriculum in 2005. Starting this fall, all industrial engineering undergraduate students will be required to take the Service Systems Engineering course.

In addition, the Center for Service Enterprise Engineering was established in 2007 as the first U.S. academic center devoted solely to the study and practice of service engineering. Led by Terry Friesz, professor of industrial engineering, the center takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study, design and implementation of service enterprises and the use of quantitative tools to aid the service aspect of for-profit organizations in various sectors.

Griffin added, "The generous gift from Chuck and Enid will help us continue our pioneering effort in service engineering so that we can facilitate innovative research, further develop our service-based curriculum and provide leadership in defining future needs in this area."

The Schneiders' gift will help the College of Engineering reach its goals in For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, a University-wide fundraising effort 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 For the Future campaign is the most ambitious of its kind in Penn State's history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

  • Charles and Enid Schneider with children, grandchildren

    A $1 million gift by engineering alumnus Charles Schneider and his wife Enid, center, will support service enterprise engineering within the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. The couple is pictured here with their children and grandchildren.

    IMAGE: Charles and Enid Schneider

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Last Updated May 12, 2016