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Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke comments on the building expansion of the School of Mechanical Engineering at the College of Engineering annual lunch. (32 seconds)

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October 7, 2005

Mechanical engineers finish fund raising for new addition

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University on Friday (Oct. 7) announced the completion of private fund raising for a $29 million mechanical engineering wing.

Linda Katehi

Linda Katehi, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering, also announced a gift for a new laboratory in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering before about 250 members of the Engineering Dean's Club during its annual luncheon in the Purdue Memorial Union Ballrooms.

"The Purdue College of Engineering undergraduate and graduate programs are ranked eighth in the nation, and these gifts will help Purdue do even better," Katehi said. "Our success reflects the dedication of our faculty and the quality of our graduates. Those same graduates, and the employers who depend on them, are making it possible with their gifts for Purdue to achieve its strategic plan, and we are grateful for their generosity."

The mechanical engineering expansion, called the Roger B. Gatewood Wing of the Mechanical Engineering Building, will support 15 new mechanical engineering faculty, increase research facilities and provide more classrooms for students. Purdue hopes to match the $16 million in private gifts with another $13 million from the state. In all, the School of Mechanical Engineering is raising $150 million as part of the university's $1.5 billion Campaign for Purdue.

Individuals who have committed $1 million or more to the mechanical engineering campaign are:

• Roger B. Gatewood, president of Westbay City Homes in St. Petersburg, Fla.

• Donald and Catherine C. Feddersen. Catherine founded Burke Capital, an investment management firm in Wellesley, Mass., and Donald, deceased, was a venture capitalist with Bessemer Venture Partners.

• Robert and Catherine Orth. Robert, deceased, is former vice president of Wheelabrator Corp. in Mishawaka, Ind., where Catherine resides.

• James E. and Diane Perrella. He is retired chairman of Ingersoll-Rand Inc. in Woodcliff, N.J. The Perrellas now live in Jupiter, Fla.

An anonymous $1.5 million gift for the mechanical engineering campaign also was celebrated.

The mechanical engineering campaign includes construction of the new wing and renovations to existing facilities. The Purdue strategic plan calls for increasing mechanical engineering faculty from the current 51 to 65, adding eight endowed professorships in the process.

"The campaign for mechanical engineering will ensure that Purdue stays at the forefront of technology development, expanded research and educational opportunities," said E. Daniel Hirleman Jr., a professor and the William E. and Florence E. Perry Head of the School of Mechanical Engineering. "Through this expansion, we plan to triple mechanical engineering sponsored research from $6.75 million in 1999 to $20 million annually.

"In addition, we will be better able to meet the demand for our program, as enrollment in the school has been at an all-time high for the last two years."

Undergraduate and graduate enrollment in the School of Mechanical Engineering is 1,270.

The mechanical engineering expansion will further help develop research in areas including:

• Advanced materials and manufacturing such as laser-based advanced manufacturing.

• Information, communication and perception technologies.

• Nanotechnology and biotechnology.

• Renewable energy and power systems such as research in propulsion systems, including hydrogen research at the Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories.

Roger B. Gatewood

Gatewood, for whom the wing is named, earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1968. He spent his early career working with the Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Co. in Chicago. In 1980 he formed Westfield Development Corp. and Westfield Homes of Illinois, a land development and home building company, both in Gurnee, Ill. The firm expanded into Westfield Homes USA and was sold to Standard Pacific in 2002. Gatewood remains president of the Westfield Homes subsidiary, which is part of one of the largest homebuilders in the nation.

Robert Orth, who earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1935, was vice president of sales for Wheelabrator, a company that produces machinery used to clean surfaces, shape aircraft wings and for numerous other purposes. Catherine Romano-Orth is a nurse by profession who earned a licensed practical nurse degree in 1970 from Kings County Hospital Center in New York. She also earned a bachelor's degree in 2001 in sociology and women's studies from Indiana University.

Catherine and Robert Orth

The Orths have funded scholarships at Purdue, Indiana University and other universities. They also have participated in programs to help high school students prepare for college and provide aid to students already in college who are having difficulties completing their studies. The Robert and Catherine Orth Undergraduate Student Commons in the new wing of mechanical engineering will provide an area for students to congregate and use wireless technology to collaborate on classwork. The commons will overlook an atrium partially set aside for displays honoring outstanding alumni.


Catherine and Donald Feddersen

Donald Feddersen earned a mechanical engineering degree from Purdue in 1956. He served on the boards of directors of several high-tech companies. He was president and CEO of Entrex Software Inc. and president of Applicon. Both Boston-based companies are suppliers of computer-aided design equipment. He also was a general partner in Charles River Ventures, which specializes in venture capital for high-technology companies. Feddersen also has funded the Donald W. Feddersen Distinguished Professorship in the School of Mechanical Engineering, research in the School's mechatronics laboratory and various scholarships. Catherine Feddersen worked at Wellesley College, overseeing the school's investments, before founding Burke Capital.

James E. Perrella

James E. Perrella earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1960 and a master's degree in industrial management in 1961 from Purdue. He spent his professional career with Ingersoll-Rand, a manufacturer of industrial machinery, construction equipment, door hardware and other devices, where he started as a production planner in 1962. He and his wife made a leadership gift to Rawls Hall for the Krannert School of Management. He also established the James E. Perrella Fellowship in Krannert and the James E. Perrella Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering. He received an honorary doctorate from Purdue in 1994.

Diane Perrella was a recruiter for Ingersoll Rand and met James while recruiting at the Purdue campus. She is involved with Centenary College and volunteers in the arts community in Jupiter, Fla.

The James and Diane Perrella Bio-Mechanics Laboratory in the new wing will allow researchers the space to study the effects of externally applied loads and/or the effects of loads on the human body. This information will be used to develop new devices, implants or systems for the human body.

Also announced at the luncheon will be a pledge of $850,000 from the Jai N. Gupta Family Foundation to support a computation lab in a proposed $20 million electrical and computer engineering building near Discovery Park. The 41,020-square-foot building will be named Seng-Liang Wang Hall, subject to ratification by the university's board of trustees in November.

Jai Gupta of McLean, Va., earned a doctorate degree in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue in 1974. The gift brings the family's commitment to the campaign to $1.5 million.

The announcements are part of a two-week celebration leading up to Purdue's Oct. 15 Homecoming.

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, (765) 494-4192, csequin@purdue.edu

Sources: Linda Katehi, (765) 494-1871, katehi@purdue.edu

Dan Hirleman, (765) 494-5688, hirleman@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu



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