Donald Washkewicz, who grew up in Garfield Heights and earned a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from CSU in 1972, is Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President of Parker Hannifin Corporation, headquartered in Greater Cleveland.
The $10 million gift is the largest-ever in university history and is the reason that the CSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rename the college the Washkewicz College of Engineering at Cleveland State University.
"We are tremendously grateful to Don and Pam Washkewicz and The Parker Hannifin Foundation for their exceptional generosity," said CSU President Ronald M. Berkman. "The value they assign to integrity, compassion, philanthropy and life-long learning will forever provide a positive example for each of our students. Moreover, CSU historians will view this gift not only as a legacy defined by the Washkewicz name but as 'the' moment of the 21st century when engineering students saw their learning environment at CSU emerge from the past and present to the future."
Donald Washkewicz said, "Pam and I and our entire family are delighted to provide this gift to Cleveland State and its engineering program. My experience at CSU was so rewarding and I am forever grateful to the university and the people who helped me. At Parker, we have enjoyed a close relationship with the CSU engineering program that has yielded many new opportunities and enabled us to hire many very talented people. My hope is that the additional support we are providing will enable the CSU engineering program to do even more to make engineering a core driver of job growth and economic opportunity in the region."
In addition to his degree from CSU, Washkewicz holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University. He received an honorary doctorate degree in Engineering from Cleveland State in 2004. He also received the 2002 George B. Davis Distinguished Alumnus Award from CSU and Fenn College of Engineering as well as the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University.
The gift will facilitate major physical infrastructure improvements to the 1920s-era building previously known as Stilwell Hall, which houses the engineering program and is now being renamed Fenn Hall. The structure was built as the Ohio Motors Building and was renovated in the late 1950s, with patchwork renovation over the past six decades. CSU recently received a $12.7 million state capital appropriation to make structural improvements, but those resources are insufficient to fully transform the building to a state-of-the-art facility.
Proposed renovations include enhancing classroom space, mobility, student and faculty gathering areas and offices, and creating a new entrance from Chester Avenue and East 24th Street. However, the hallmarks of the transformation will be two unique laboratory spaces - a Learning Incubator for Undergraduate Education and a Laboratory for Research and Innovation.
"This generous gift will allow us to provide additional scholarships and to foster and jumpstart the creation of an academic environment that promotes innovation, discovery and entrepreneurship, and facilitates collaboration with industry," said Berkman. "By reinventing our program in order to provide our students with greater intellectual development opportunities, superb technical capabilities, the ability to work as part of a team, to communicate well and to understand the economic, social, environmental and international context of engineering, we will graduate students who are ready for the future."
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