Dear CMU Ambassadors,
The energy and vitality that the return of our students brought to campus this past semester has reinvigorated our community. Our “new normal” may look a little different, but the innovation, collaboration, support and care our community members have shown for each other have only continued to grow over the past year.
Our campus itself has a new energy as well. We recently hosted a groundbreaking for the new Highmark Center for Health, Wellness and Athletics, a state-of-the-art building that will give students access to comprehensive care, well-being resources and top athletic facilities, all under one roof. The facility will surround and expand a renovated Skibo Gym, while retaining some of the gym’s historic elements, and create a vibrant hub for student health and wellness on campus. When it opens in 2024, it will stand as a physical testament to CMU’s commitment to educating and developing the whole person.
We also welcomed visitors back for a hybrid Homecoming last month that mixed CMU traditions with virtual programming, including the 71st annual CMU Alumni Awards. Each of the 15 Tartans honored this year for their professional and personal achievements stands as a shining example of the power of a CMU education and our community.
October marked the two-year anniversary of the public launch of Make Possible: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University. We’ve made tremendous progress toward our goals of advancing technology for the benefit of humanity, fueling artistic expression, accelerating scientific discovery and cultivating a dynamic experience for our students. To date, more than 52,700 supporters have contributed more than $1.77 billion to support CMU and these world-changing initiatives. To all who have contributed so far, thank you for your exceptional generosity!
This edition of CMU Ambassadors highlights the tremendous work being done at Carnegie Mellon and its potential for changing how we live, learn, work and connect. It is through the support of our donors, volunteers and advocates that we are advancing our transformative mission of research, education and societal impact.
- CMU’s investment in innovation and the student experience was amplified with several transformational gifts this fall. A $20-million gift from entrepreneur Charles C. Hoskinson established the Hoskinson Center for Formal Mathematics; a $16-million gift from the Posner Foundation endowed the Tartan Scholars program and University Libraries deanship and contributed to the Highmark Center; and a $10-million gift from CMU Trustee Frank Brunckhorst supported cross-disciplinary initiatives for the future of science.
- With an eye focused on the fast-evolving future, CMU formed a strategic partnership with Emerald Cloud Lab (ECL) to build a $40-million automated science laboratory on campus. With the help of robotics and artificial intelligence, the CMU Cloud Lab will allow researchers to exponentially increase the quality and quantity of their experiments while also making this state-of-the-art equipment more accessible to the scientific community. The world’s first university cloud lab will be designed using the ECL software architecture created by Mellon College of Science alumni Brian Frezza and DJ Kleinbaum.
From leveraging the power of a single thread to protecting the health of our natural environment, CMU researchers are demonstrating the importance of keeping humanity at the center of innovation and advancement.
- Ride sharing has a cost, and it’s more than just the dollars we spend on trips. Researchers from CMU uncovered the environmental toll from fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, congestion crashes and noise. The study advocated for pooling rides and moving beyond just ride sharing to increase economic and environmental efficiency.
- Silk’s unlimited potential continues to be unraveled by CMU faculty, students and alumni. Their research in tissue engineering has discovered that silk can be used to restore or improve damaged tissues and organs. This medical innovation would create a safe and versatile biomaterial structure to support new tissue as it grows inside the human body.
- Rudeness doesn’t just impact self-esteem: it has a direct effect on decision-making, which can be dangerous in high-stakes situations. A research team affiliated with CMU studied how rudeness can boost negative emotions and create biases in judgment that can lead to poor medical, financial and safety outcomes.
The process of making and creating has evolved dramatically with technology, but our need for connections to the past and to each other never changes.
- With the hopes of following in the path of iconic Broadway shows like “Godspell” and “Pippin,” which started at CMU as student projects, a group of students and recent graduates has developed “Birds and Beansprouts” over the last few years, including a pandemic lockdown during which the team collaborated remotely from 13 states.
- From outer space to our kitchens, robotics continue to influence and alter society with lightning speed, and CMU is working to archive robotic innovation since its earliest days. In 2022, the project will culminate in a digital collection prototype that will showcase robotic artifacts and their impact.
As 2021 comes to a close, Tris and I want to express our gratitude for your support this year, and we wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2022. Thank you for helping Carnegie Mellon provide every member of our amazing community what they need to be their best selves.
President and Henry L. Hillman President's Chair