Campaign ushers in new era for Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

If you want to know how the State Your Purpose: Campaign for Colorado State University impacted one of the university’s flagship colleges, just look at the name on the sign outside the building:

Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.

In 2016, CSU’s renowned engineering program leapt to new heights when alumnus Walter Scott, Jr., gifted – or as he would prefer, invested – $53.3 million to the college that helped shape his career as a giant in the construction industry. The gift not only is the largest in the university’s history, it put a name on one of its eight colleges for just the second time in CSU’s 150-year history.

“Mr. Scott has been a generous scholarship donor since 1981,” said David McLean, dean of the college. “His assistance with improving our physical facilities – the Suzanne and Walter Scott, Jr. Bioengineering Building – and his 2017 gift supporting undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships and faculty chairs during this campaign have been transformative. We’ve attracted more of the best and brightest students, and they have elevated our college. The college has also drawn some wonderful graduate students through the Scott Fellows program to elevate our research, and we have been able to hire recognized national leaders as Scott Presidential Chairs in critical areas of global focus: Water, Energy, Environment and Health.

Walter Scott, Jr.

“The campaign has supported and advanced every aspect of the college’s mission to provide excellence in teaching, research and outreach. The gift from Walter Scott, Jr. elevated our reputation and awareness of the college’s needs and opportunities for all alumni and friends of the college to contribute in their own meaningful way. We are all partners in the success of our students, faculty and staff.”

While the Scott gift was the game-changer, generous donors had impact throughout the eight-year campaign, creating student scholarships, funding faculty positions and adding or improving numerous facilities, including the Suzanne and Walter Scott, Jr. Engineering Building, Powerhouse and others.

Scott was particularly fond of his Scott Scholars program, which provides scholarship support to the best and brightest undergraduates. But he also insisted that his gift be utilized to attract the best available faculty to CSU.

Former CSU President Tony Frank, now the chancellor of the CSU System, had known Scott for several years before convincing him to make the game-changing gift to the college that now bears his name.

“To me one of the most powerful things to think about with a gift like that in is the impact – the personal story of some student you don’t even know yet,” Frank said. “There’s somebody out there, maybe not even in high school, who at some point will have an opportunity to be a Scott Scholar and study under a Scott Chair in the Scott Building in the Scott School of Engineering. That kid will go on to do great things, and the ripple effect of all of those things over all of those years will be remarkable.”

State Your Purpose campaign highlights

Scott’s gift was one of several to the college during the campaign, including:

A $6 million gift from the Bohemian Foundation established the Bryan Willson Presidential Chair

A weather radar system provided by from Finland-based Vaisala in 2017 allows CSU scientists to enhance research, education and the student experience in radar remote sensing and weather observations.