Foundation donates $2 million for creation of new EECS chair

Gabrielle Buffington, Staff Reporter

The Parker Hannifin Foundation has endowed $2 million to Case Western Reserve University’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at the Case School of Engineering to create the Arthur L. Parker Endowed Chair. Kenneth Loparo, the current chair of the EECS department, will be the first person to hold the position.

The Parker Hannifin Foundation, one of the world’s leading manufacturing companies for motion and control technologies, typically sees annual global sales of more than $13 billion.

The chair is named for the company’s founder, Art Parker, who graduated from the Case Institute of Technology in 1907 before going on to create the Cleveland-grown company. At just 33, he invented an air-filled braking system for buses and trucks.

Parker has sponsored multiple university events for CWRU, and continues to donate to scholarships and innovation in a variety of fields. The company’s current chairman, Don Washkewicz, believes that working with students inspires more ideas and advances in the engineering field.

“This endowed chair reinforces our company’s connection to Case Western Reserve and furthers our goal to support education in the communities where we do business,” he said in an interview with The Daily.

Endowed professorships are key in attracting more distinguished faculty.

“The endowment provides not only salary support, but discretionary funds to kick-start special initiatives and opportunities, support graduate student travel to student conferences and more,” said Loparo.

Loparo joined the university’s engineering faculty in 1979, and became the chair of EECS in 2013. He is also a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.