Carnegie Mellon University
May 25, 2012

Press Release: Silicon Valley Entrepreneur, Bay Valley Visual Artist Provide $1 Million Endowment to Alma Mater Carnegie Mellon University

Contact: Pam Wigley / 412-268-1047 /

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University on Monday announced a $1 million endowment to name a studio dedicated to the collaboration of art, technology and other disciplines across the university. Alumni Edward H. Frank (CS'85) and his wife, Sarah G. Ratchye (A'83), announced the naming of the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry — part of the College of Fine Arts — during a program in the college's Alumni Concert Hall. Their gift establishes the Fund for Art at the Frontier, which in large part will be used to fund the creation of new works of art that push boundaries and inspire imagination.

Indicative of Carnegie Mellon's dedication to pursuing innovation and inspiration, this endowment will encourage artistic interpretation and exploration among all educational programs at the university. Faculty, staff and students may apply after fall 2012 for funding through the STUDIO regardless of background or major; applicants do not have to be affiliated with the College of Fine Arts to work within the STUDIO.

"Ed and Sarah embody a marriage of technology and the arts, literally and figuratively. They also understand and appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of Carnegie Mellon and its commitment to the arts with this gift that pushes arts frontiers," said Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon. "Their gift is generous and highly important at a time when arts education remains critical to the success of so many programs at CMU."

Innovative projects that push the limits of creativity and cross disciplines of study at Carnegie Mellon often were generated within the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, which now has been named in honor of the man and woman who were students at Carnegie Mellon in the 1980s. Ratchye and Frank are passionate collectors and supporters of the arts, and they have a particular interest in electronic art and pop-surrealism. Through the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, they hope to support new forms of arts-research that stretch the imaginations of both creators and audiences.  

"Providing support that will encourage the creation of 'art at the frontier' is aligned with our perspective at the STUDIO because of our decades-long commitment to expanding the arts through new ideas, fields and ways of thinking," said Golan Levin, director of the STUDIO and the fund's administrator.

Levin is an award-winning artist whose work focuses on the design of systems for the creation, manipulation and performance of simultaneous image and sound. In early May, he received the Award of Distinction in the category of Hybrid Art at the 2012 Prix Ars Electronica for his work on The Free Universal Construction Kit. He has been director of the STUDIO since 2009 and is dedicated to helping his students, colleagues and visiting fellows see the possibilities inherent in developing provocative work that explores more than one area of study — particularly, the arts and technology.

Frank and Ratchye embody the example of a marriage between technology and the arts. Frank is an alumnus of the School of Computer Science, and Ratchye is an alumna of the College of Fine Arts. Today, Ratchye is an artist whose work has been exhibited in numerous one-person and juried shows and is in private collections in the United States and Australia. She was a member of the board of trustees of the San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA) and was chairman of the SJMA Collections Committee. In addition to Carnegie Mellon, she has earned degrees from Stanford University and the San Francisco Art Institute.

Frank is a University Life Trustee and chair of "Inspire Innovation: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University," which has already raised more than $1.02 billion. He also is vice president of Macintosh Hardware Systems Engineering at Apple. Previously, he was corporate vice president for research and development at Broadcom Corporation. He was also a co-founder of Epigram, a home networking company acquired by Broadcom in 1999, and he served as a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems. He holds more than 40 U.S. patents and was one of the entrepreneur founders of Carnegie Mellon University in Silicon Valley, celebrating its 10th year of existence in June 2012.

Ratchye and Frank are the parents of two daughters: Whitton, who received a Bachelor of Humanities and Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon and is an actress in Los Angeles, and Naomi, who is an artist and musician in New York City.