October 26, 2018
Dear Members of the CMU Community,
Let me begin by thanking all of the members of our community who joined us today to celebrate the next chapter in the story of Carnegie Mellon University. Those who gathered for inauguration were inspired by the pageantry and tradition of the ceremony; the performances of our talented alumni, faculty and students; and the cutting-edge work of our faculty. We look forward to Homecoming tomorrow, to reconnecting with friends from near and far, and, of course, to cheering our Tartans on to victory.
As we conclude inauguration, I am especially proud to announce two new philanthropic commitments that will accelerate our mission and transform Carnegie Mellon for many years to come.
The first is a commitment that will dramatically increase the accessibility of a CMU education. Carnegie Mellon alumni Cindy and Tod Johnson have pledged to contribute $50 million to create an endowment for scholarships, as well as flexible funding to support students who face unforeseen circumstances that might impact their ability to complete their degrees. This is the largest single gift for scholarship support in the history of the university and, when fully funded, will provide critical resources to meet more of the financial aid need of current and future students, and ensure a CMU education is within reach of all who seek it.
These two extraordinary alumni met while students at Carnegie Mellon, and they credit a fellowship Tod received with allowing them to be independent as students. Tod is a longstanding member and vice chair of CMU’s Board of Trustees, and also chaired the Centennial Campaign for Carnegie Mellon.
Tod and Cindy have been involved as CMU supporters for their entire adult lives, with previous gifts that include the establishment of the Herbert A. Simon Professorship of Economics and Psychology, support for the recently completed first building on the Tepper Quadrangle, support of the Purnell Center for the Arts, and an endowment for the university’s Fifth-Year Scholars Program.
The second commitment will make it possible for us to construct a new Scaife Hall for the College of Engineering. Home to our highly ranked Department of Mechanical Engineering, the new building will more than double the size of the existing facility, with a focus on increased lab spaces, configurable classrooms and collaboration areas that will benefit the entire campus. The existing building will be torn down and the new state-of-the-art Scaife Hall will be constructed on an expanded footprint at the same location on Frew Street. This $75 million facility will be an integral part of the college’s Maker Ecosystem, which provides students from across the university with hands-on learning opportunities.
In support of this project, the Allegheny Foundation is providing the lead grant of $30 million. CMU and the foundation share a rich history; Scaife Hall is named for Alan Scaife, who was the father of Richard M. Scaife, the founder of the Allegheny Foundation. This grant, the largest in the history of the Allegheny Foundation, will enable us to bring our total infrastructure investments in engineering over the past decade to more than a quarter billion dollars.
In addition to these extraordinary commitments, I’m pleased to report that we have received several other significant gifts from trustees and other friends of the university, including gifts from a small group of trustees to fund the inaugural dinner and tent in which we hosted both the dinner and today’s community picnic. These new commitments total more than $100 million in advance of inauguration, a truly astounding show of confidence in the critical work of our CMU community. We will share more about these supporters and their gifts in the near future.
In the meantime, please join me in thanking Cindy and Tod Johnson, and the Allegheny Foundation for their profound generosity to Carnegie Mellon. I am so grateful for their partnership, and for the partnership of the entire global CMU community as we work together to build an exciting future for Carnegie Mellon.
Henry L. Hillman President's Chair