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Press Release

Contact:
Chriss Swaney
412-268-5776

For immediate release:
September 23, 2003

Carnegie Mellon Establishes Steinbrenner Institute For Environmental Education and Research

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University Trustee W. Lowell Steinbrenner and his wife, Jan, pledged seed funds of $4 million to set up the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research. The institute will aid Carnegie Mellon's ambitious long-term strategic thrust to change the way society thinks and acts about the environment, through its educational and research methods and results, through the issues it raises and through the outcomes it produces.

"Because of social, economic and political circumstances, we undoubtedly will have to radically change our habits with regard to our natural resources," said Steinbrenner, a member of the university's environmental strategic planning subcommittee and former chairman of Contours Ltd., a specialty steel wire producer.

According to Chris T. Hendrickson, head of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon, impetus for the new institute is based on Carnegie Mellon's long tradition of successful research as well as its collaborative strengths in science and technology, design, economics, and the social and policy sciences.

Hendrickson, tapped to head the new institute, said there are plans to offer seed funding and promote collaborative work in environmental research and education. The Steinbrenner Institute's initial focus will be centered on two critical environmental themes:

  • Energy and the environment, including electricity and energy for transportation.

  • Urban infrastructure in both developed and developing regions, including both the built and natural environment in urban regions. Carnegie Mellon researchers are already developing new tools to measure energy consumption as well as a broad swath of new technologies for curbing pollutants and greenhouse gases.

The new Steinbrenner Institute will also be charged with coordinating and enhancing the impact of environmental research and education campus wide. The educational focus will include an emphasis on helping all Carnegie Mellon undergraduates understand the problems, methodologies and practical solutions that can lead to a more sustainable world.

"Carnegie Mellon is leading the way in making our energy use and urban infrastructures safer and more effective," Hendrickson said.

In energy, for example, micro turbines designed by Carnegie Mellon researchers can run everything from palm oil to manure gas. University researchers also are finding great value in wind energy. Carnegie Mellon was the first university in Pennsylvania to purchase wind power in 2001. Other researchers are using "super bugs" to eliminate dangerous PCBs.

The university is a leader in research on green design: the art of engineering products and processes to minimize risk for both nature and mankind. Carnegie Mellon's Green Design Institute has developed user-friendly, life-cycle analytical computer tools that can tell users how much pollution is generated from common goods and services. The Green Design team also studies alternative fuels and propulsion systems. The Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry is developing environmentally benign catalysts for widespread use.

Carnegie Mellon is a leader in interdisciplinary research and world renowned for equipping its graduates with analytical capabilities, problem-solving skills and information technology prowess.

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