Major Gifts

"You achieved a level of success based upon what the university gave you. To a significant degree, you are what you took from the university. Now, give back so that others can follow you; build a legacy through your giving. Nothing you do will ever be as important from an engineering career standpoint." 
- Tom Castino, BSME '60

Endowments are one of many ways to participate in the future of MechSE. These 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 the department. The types of current endowments are listed below. To learn more about each type, please visit the links below.

Named Fellowship

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.

Minimum gift: $500,000

Named Scholarship

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.

Minimum gift: $25,000

Named Awards

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.

Minimum gift: $25,000

Named Lecture Series

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.

Minimum gift: $100,000

Named Professorships and Chairs

Named professorships and chairs present a unique opportunity for donors to establish their own legacy. Endowed professorships and chairs enhance the educational environment and prestige of the department by attracting and retaining stellar scholars. Students, in turn, benefit from their association with top-notch faculty who are engaged in innovative and significant research and teaching.

MechSE currently has 14 endowed professorships and chairs. Those who have been honored with a named position have used the endowment to initiate new areas of research, to support graduate student work and provide them with opportunities for professional travel, and to bring visiting scholars to the department.

Named Professorship

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.

Minimum gift: $500,000

Named Chair

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.

Minimum gift: $2,000,000

Laboratory Support and Naming

There are currently more than 50 labs in MechSE conducting education and research in such diverse areas as materials testing, automotive systems, fluid mechanics, micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems, energetic materials and much more. Corporate partners or individuals may get involved by sponsoring research projects or educational activities, or by donating state-of-the-art equipment. Naming opportunities also may exist where there is significant financial support.

The department also houses 9 research centers, most of which formalize corporate connections through center memberships. Members have input into the research directions pursued by a center and are in on the ground floor of potentially beneficial research breakthroughs.

Equipment Donations

Donations of equipment that supports the current education and research missions of MechSE are welcome. Such donations may be designated with a plaque or nameplate honoring the individual or corporate donor.

For more information on these giving opportunities, please contact Betsy Rodriquez