Aspire campaign helps engineers address critical societal needs
Princeton University's Aspire fundraising campaign concluded June 30, 2012, having raised $327 million to support "Engineering and a Sustainable Society." The gifts established major new centers for teaching and research, 10 professorships, two preceptorships, more than 175,000 square feet of new construction and more than $60 million for innovative research.
"The tremendous generosity of our alumni and friends already is accelerating work that will provide clean energy, protect the environment, improve health, and secure information and infrastructure around the world," said H. Vincent Poor, dean of engineering. "Through the Aspire campaign, we are doing more than ever to prepare all Princeton students to be leaders and to make wise use of technology. I join my colleagues in saying a heartfelt thank you to all who participated."
Several important outcomes of the Aspire campaign include the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education, Sherrerd Hall and more than $60 million-worth of innovation funds to support transformative research. These key areas of growth are outlined below. For more information visit www.princeton.edu/aspire.
The first gift to Aspire came from Dennis (Class of 1963) and Constance Keller, endowing a bold initiative to broaden the education of engineers and to engage students from all parts of the University in a deeper understanding of technology. The Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education now supports many courses, extracurricular programs, internships and events that foster entrepreneurship, service and hands-on projects. One of the center's latest initiatives, called eLab, allowed four teams of students to spend 10 weeks on campus last summer building businesses they created.
In 2008, international businessman Gerhard Andlinger '52 endowed the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, which supports interdisciplinary efforts to develop sustainable sources of energy and comprehensive environmental solutions. In addition to a major new laboratory, faculty positions and an active program of guest speakers and corporate affiliations, Aspire campaign gifts have created a variety of funds to support innovative research and student projects.
With support from the late John J.F. Sherrerd '52 and his family, the University completed construction in 2008 of a 47,700 square foot building bordering the green between the Engineering Quadrangle and Wallace Hall. Sherrerd Hall is home to the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering (ORFE) and the Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP), both of which bridge engineering and the social sciences.
An important outcome of the Aspire campaign was the creation of innovation funds – sources of money distributed to researchers on a competitive basis for bold ideas that would be difficult or impossible to pursue using conventional grants from federal agencies. The Project X fund was created by Lynn Shostack in memory of her late husband David Gardner '69 to support engineers who want to track down unconventional ideas and hunches, often outside their immediate areas of expertise. The Eric (class of 1976) and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund is open to faculty members University-wide.