Engineering dean endowed with $5 million pledge

Katharine Toledo, Staff Reporter

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Case Western Reserve University recently received a $5 million pledge to endow the Charles H. Phipps Dean at the Case School of Engineering. The pledge came from alumnus Charles Phipps, a 1949 graduate of the Case Institute of Technology.

The $5 million pledge to the Case School of Engineering is the third gift that Phipps has given to the school. In 2005, Phipps and his brother John gave a large sum of money to CWRU for the Myron Phipps Dean’s Discretionary Fund, in honor of their late father. Again in 2011, Phipps gave another $2 million to create the Phipps Endowment Fund in honor of his late wife.

The $5 million that Phipps gifted to the university in 2018 will endow the chair held by the new Dean of the Case School of Engineering, Venkataramanan “Ragu” Balakrishnan.

Balakrishnan joined CWRU last fall. He previously served as a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. Balakrishnan received his bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India before receiving dual masters degrees in statistics and electrical engineering and a doctorate in electrical engineering, all from Stanford University.

The $5 million will be given to Balakrishnan to use at his discretion to foster research and new programs within the Case School of Engineering. Specifically, the dean hopes to create a program that helps first-year students to learn the fundamentals of engineering through a series of hands-on labs as he described in a recent article in Crain’s Cleveland Business.  

Other priorities for Balakrishnan include expanding funding for interdisciplinary studies as well as growing the Ph.D. program within the Case School of Engineering.