Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Alumni Fund Climate Adaptation Research

December 07, 2023

Carnegie Mellon Alumni Fund Climate Adaptation Research

Generous commitment from Yeming and Aaron Rankin will support research in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Scott Institute. 

It’s no surprise when successful collaborations drive remarkable outcomes at Carnegie Mellon, but there is something extraordinary about the partnership with two generous alumni working to help their alma mater advance its impact in climate adaptation research. 

Yeming and Aaron Rankin have made a generous commitment to establish the Engineering Resilience for Climate Adaptation Fund. The new fund will support initiatives focused on engineering resilience for energy and climate adaptation and the associated PhD student-led projects that will be overseen by faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Scott Institute. 

Burcu Akinci, who heads the Civil & Environmental Engineering department, said, “The Rankins’ generous commitment will enable teams of researchers to develop and deploy a suite of novel methods, tools, and analyses needed to improve the resilience of engineering infrastructure designs and communities, and provide critical resources needed to support the establishment of a center of excellence and a well-trusted source in this area.”

Greg Lowry, the Walter J. Blenko, Sr. University Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Director of New Initiatives, aims to grow this formational gift into an externally funded interdisciplinary center on Engineering Resilience for Climate Adaptation. 

“We are thrilled to champion Carnegie Mellon’s innovative and interdisciplinary research in the much-needed area of climate resilience and adaptation. As alumni, we know the blend of drive and pragmatism woven into the fabric of Carnegie Mellon’s culture, which leaves no doubt in our minds that this initiative will translate to impactful results,” remarked Yeming Rankin.

Resilience is the key to enhancing harmony between the natural and physical world to proactively reduce and withstand the impact of climate change. And climate adaptation builds on a system of thinking that integrates climate change modeling with the development of effective and equitable adaptation solutions. The result is a holistic approach within which nature, built environments, and societies are able to thrive. 

“We are fortunate that the Rankins’ desire to invest in a more climate-secure and sustainable future aligns so well with our strengths in energy and climate change research and its translation to practice,” said Valerie Karplus, a professor in the department of Engineering and Public Policy. 

Karplus said she is especially pleased that in recognition of their transformative gift, the Rankins will be inaugural Grand Challenge Partners of the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, where she serves as associate and acting director. 

Yeming Rankin earned her B.S. degree in Computer Science at the School of Computer Science in 2005. Aaron Rankin earned his B.S. degree in Information Systems at the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and his M.S. degree in Information Systems Management at the Heinz College in 2004.

Together they invest in climate tech, energy transition, and sustainability through their family office, Rankin Ventures. The foundation arm of Rankin Ventures supports philanthropic causes related to sustainability and health, as well as community and economic development in the Greater Chicago area. 

The College of Engineering is pleased to recognize the Rankins as founding members of a center of excellence focused on Engineering and Resilience for Climate Adaptation, which will continue to evolve and thrive thanks to their generosity. 

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