MechSE Current Endowments

Endowments are one of many ways to participate in the future of MechSE.

Endowments are funds that require that the principal remains intact and invested to create a source of income for a specified purpose. Endowed funds are never spent. Each gift designated as an endowment embodies permanent financial support. Some of the investment return is added to the principal so that the fund balance increases in value over time. An endowment can be tailored to support a wide range of MechSE programs or people within our department. The types of current endowments are listed below. To learn more about each type, please visit the links below.


An endowed chair embodies the highest honor the University can bestow on prominent faculty members. Endowed chairs serve as an incomparable tool with which to attract and retain scholars of proven brilliance. Named academic chairs represent reward, recognition, opportunity, and incentive. By providing specially dedicated resources for innovative research and teaching opportunities, these celebrated positions enable the most gifted faculty members, deans, directors, and department heads to excel in their scholarly activities. The income from endowed chairs may be used to provide partial salary support, and it helps fund professors’ specific teaching and research requirements – such needs as laboratory equipment, support staff, graduate assistants, research materials, and computer equipment.


Endowed professorships allow the University to continue building a thriving intellectual community by helping attract and retain promising scholars early in their careers. By definition, a professor who holds a named professorship is a distinguished faculty member, celebrated for teaching, for research, and for the caliber of thinking that inspires both. Providing such support to faculty who are building a national reputation is one way to ensure the continued quality of the professorship in MechSE. Named professorships are paramount to MechSE in recruiting young researchers and teachers from around the world who show great promise and encouraging them to expand their careers in our department. The income from an endowed professorship may be used to augment the salary of the professor, as well as to support his or her scholarly and research needs.


In order for MechSE to maintain its teaching and research excellence, we must have outstanding graduate students. Talented graduate students inspire the undergraduate students they teach; they serve as creative and productive members of research teams; and they enliven the educational experiences of other graduate students. Many go on to become distinguished college and university professors, extending the exceptional tradition of research and teaching that shaped their lives at Illinois. Competition among leading mechanical engineering schools for gifted graduate students is intense. To attract the best students to MechSE, we must compete with the very best universities across the nation and around the world. Our competitiveness is measured not only in terms of our faculty, research opportunities, and facilities, but also in terms of the financial support we offer to our graduate students. Thus, endowed graduate fellowships are critical to us in getting the best and brightest students to come to Illinois.


The continued excellence of MechSE depends in part on attracting the most talented undergraduate students from across the nation and around the world. As the costs of tuition and attendance have continued to climb, the financial assistance provided by the department in terms of endowed scholarships has become increasingly important to students and parents facing the decision of which college to attend. Named undergraduate scholarships may be established based on merit, need, or both. Scholarship recipients gain the freedom to invest their energies more fully in their coursework and to pursue internships and other experiences that will enrich their personal development and career preparation.


Named graduate or undergraduate student awards provide additional financial support to outstanding students. These awards also provide an opportunity for the department to recognize and reward student excellence early in the student's careers.


Lectures and lecture series play an important role in the academic life of the campus. They allow faculty and students to interact with distinguished leaders who influence disciplines, society, the nation and the world. In addition to delivering a lecture, speakers are invited to participate in other special activities during their visits to campus. Endowed lectures provide the resources to cover the expenses of bringing renowned speakers to campus.