A presidential presence: College of Engineering to create four Presidential Chairs

Professor and student

Siddharth “Sid” Suryanarayanan, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, works with a student at the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory.

A $53.3 million gift from Walter Scott, Jr., the largest in Colorado State University’s history, is creating four Presidential Chairs in the College of Engineering.

Presidential Chairs are the most prestigious honor CSU awards to a faculty member, and these are the first at this level in the College of Engineering. The Presidential Chairs will help recruit and retain the very best faculty to advance teaching and research programs.

“Mr. Scott’s incredible gift has given the College of Engineering the tools needed to recruit quality students and outstanding faculty, and equip them to work in world-class facilities,” said College of Engineering Dean David McLean.

Research excellence in water, health, energy and the environment 

Scott had previously established the Walter Scott, Jr. Scholarship endowment, which continues to provide annual financial support to undergraduate engineering students. The Suzanne and Walter Scott, Jr. Bioengineering Building, completed in 2012, added 122,000 square feet of laboratory space, and classrooms for research and teaching.

The new, transformational gift completes and complements the three key areas of student, faculty and facilities support through the creation of four Presidential Chairs in the college’s areas for excellence in water, health, energy and the environment.

Current faculty in the college pursue research that spans these four areas, and programs in atmospheric science, climate modeling and environmental science are ranked among the top programs in the world. The college also has a rich legacy of excellence in water research in hydrology, hydraulics and water resources.

Making a positive impact on all faculty

The addition of the four Presidential Chairs will allow for elevated reputations and further recognition in all four areas by giving the college the leverage needed to find and hire top experts in each area. Presidential Chairs allow a college or university to seek out the best of the best – those who have top-of-the-line credentials and outstanding research accomplishments.

Anthony Marchese
Anthony Marchese, associate dean for Academic and Student Affairs in the College of Engineering

“These Chairs will impact everyone in the college. When we hire a high-profile person, they don’t come alone – they bring resources with them, like equipment, graduate students and research funding. They serve as a catalyst, and create more opportunities for everyone,” said Anthony Marchese, associate dean for Academic and Student Affairs in the College of Engineering.

With the creation of these four new Presidential Chairs, the College of Engineering aims to hire two new faculty members by the 2017-18 academic year, and another two by the 2018-19 academic year.