David Hartman, a 1958 graduate of Case Institute of Technology, wants all engineering students to benefit from the “real world learning” cooperative education provides.
The Hartman Foundation Inc., which he founded and is now led by his son, Douglas, is investing time and money to make that happen at Case Western Reserve University.
Foundation directors have approved a second $300,000 donation to the Case School of Engineering co-op program. President Douglas Hartman will regularly visit campus to meet with students, faculty and staff involved in the program and tour and meet with officials of companies that do—or are considering—offering co-ops.
A co-op is a full-time, two-semester-long, paid work experience designed to accelerate and inspire intellectual, personal, and professional development through meaningful work in a position relevant to a student’s field of study. The program provides students with coaching and guidance. Though it usually requires students to remain enrolled for a fifth year, evidence shows industry considers students who successfully complete the program top-tier job candidates.
“Not only do we want to continue our support of the program, we would like to reengage as an operating partner as my father envisioned,” Douglas Hartman told university officials. “Our goal is to see the sustained success and growth of CSE Co-op for years to come.”
Mary Rose Tichar, director of cooperative education at the engineering school, said Dean Jeff Duerk and Associate Dean Gary Wnek share the foundation’s goal of increasing the number of co-op opportunities for students. “Because of the Hartman Foundation’s generous investment and commitment to the co-op program,” Tichar said, “we were able to add a full-time staff person and are well prepared to provide excellent service to the increasing number of student applicants and to our employers.”
David Hartman, who has stepped down as foundation chairman due to health issues, put a premium on cooperative education and sought to increase participation by students and companies when the foundation donated its first $300,000 in 2011.
He believes students become significantly more valuable and marketable by spending two semesters putting classroom theories into practice at top employers, whether building highway bridges with a local construction firm, designing rocket ignition switches with NASA or developing life-saving technology with an international biomedical company.
The elder Hartman earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the university and an MBA from Harvard. He worked in product and process development, market and economic research, strategic planning and plant management before spending 33 years as CEO of successful ventures in manufacturing, transportation and banking.
Douglas Hartman said, “The Hartman Foundation looks forward to working directly with the Case School of Engineering to see that my father’s dream of 100 percent participation in co-oping is realized.”