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Oct. 26: Carnegie Mellon Receives $22 Million In Grants From Heinz Endowments


Ken Walters                           

Carnegie Mellon Receives $22 Million
In Grants From Heinz Endowments

PITTSBURGH — Carnegie Mellon University has received more than $22 million in grants from The Heinz Endowments, one of the largest private foundation grants in the university's history. The grants will be used to strengthen the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, expand teaching and research in green chemistry and sustainability and encourage more innovations in robotics and computer science.

WesselThe majority of the grant money - $13 million - will be used to support the Heinz School's strategic plan, which includes the creation of a new school of information systems management (IS). The IS school will serve as a counterpart with the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management to form a new college, the name of which is being finalized. The gift will be used to increase the college's endowment, allow the hiring of new faculty and renovate classroom and conference facilities.

"We are deeply grateful to The Heinz Endowments for this remarkable gift, which we believe will have a transformational impact not only on the Heinz School but also on the region," said Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon. "This gift will be essential to helping the new college attract and train the best faculty and students in the information systems field - a field in which Pittsburgh has the potential to be a world leader."

The gift comes at an opportune time for the Heinz School, with information systems playing a greater role in helping companies and governments solve problems and provide services. The school has been creating a strategic plan to capitalize on the synergies between information systems and public policy.

"Over the years, one of the school's many strengths has been its ability to meld technical expertise and the social sciences to help solve real-world problems," said Mark Wessel, dean of the Heinz School. "The structure of the new college will enhance these strengths, allowing us to train more globally aware and technically astute professionals."

The gift will allow the new college to hire additional faculty and aggressively recruit the best and brightest students, Wessel said. In addition, the Heinz School seeks to partner with firms that rely on information technology as a key part of their business strategy. Integrating the two schools under the college's new name won't be a problem, Wessel added, noting that Heinz professors will have appointments at the college level.

The other major portion of The Heinz Endowments' grants - $8.5 million - will be earmarked for the university's work in green chemistry. The grant will be dedicated to an endowment increase and program expansion. Carnegie Mellon Thomas Lord Professor of Chemistry Terry Collins is considered a leader in the green chemistry field.

"Thanks to the efforts of Terry Collins and his colleagues, Carnegie Mellon has long been a leader in green chemistry, and The Heinz Endowments have been an important partner in this work," said Vice President of Research Richard McCullough. "This latest gift from the endowments will help secure the university's and our region's robust position in sustainability environmental science and green chemistry."

"Green chemistry and the promise of sustainable products and technology have the potential for changing the world's environmental practices, with Pittsburgh as the starting point," Cohon said. "We are deeply grateful to the Heinz Endowments for sharing this vision with us."

Other grants provided to Carnegie Mellon by The Heinz Endowments include a $650,000 gift to enable faculty, students and professionals from the university's Field Robotics Center to refine innovations they have developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Urban Challenge Robotics Competition. The endowment also awarded $400,000 to the Computer Science Department to support the emerging field of human-centered computing, where the most advanced science is believed to have strong market potential.

The Heinz Endowments funding will enhance the Heinz School's strengths of melding technical expertise and the social sciences according to Mark Wessel, the school's dean, who is pictured above.