Carnegie Mellon University
Don Coffelt

Building Commitment

There is no job too big or too small for Don Coffelt, who keeps the CMU Pittsburgh campus running smoothly.

Don Coffelt keeps the lights on at Carnegie Mellon. Across the 152-acre campus and with his 350-member team, Coffelt, Ph.D., P.E. (E 2008), solves problems for the CMU community.

“My group provides the mysterious support services that make the place run,” Coffelt explains.

That support means filling 70,000 facilities work orders, ordering 200,000 pounds of paper, collecting 5,000 tons of trash and recycling and delivering 170,000 packages every year.

“Every task we perform makes a difference in someone’s experience here on campus.”

In addition to being a Carnegie Mellon alumnus who earned his doctorate in civil and environmental engineering (CEE) in 2008, Coffelt was elected an ASCE Fellow in 2014. He holds an appointment as a CEE adjunct professor and just co-authored a graduate-level textbook, Fundamentals of Infrastructure Management, with Chris Hendrickson, Hamerschlag University Professor Emeritus in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Coffelt has long understood the value of service; he was an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1985 to 2013, completing his decorated 28-year career at the rank of captain in the Coast Guard Reserve.

Coffelt funded two ACS legacy scholarships in CEE and supported initiatives in engineering and athletics. Since 2013, he has served as a volunteer board member for the Andrew Carnegie Society. His legacy grew even more when his son, Jacob, graduated from the College of Engineering in 2010.

“The people are the best thing about being at Carnegie Mellon,” says Coffelt. “It doesn’t matter where you’re connecting to the organization, there are inspiring stories.”