New $20 million challenge grant aims to catalyze creation of endowed professorships in medicine, engineering

CWRU Medicine Dean Pamela B. Davis, President Barbara R. Snyder and Engineering Dean Ragu Balakrishnan pose in front of a sign that reads "$20 million challenge grant to medicine and engineering"

Dean Davis, President Snyder and Dean Balakrishnan at the 2018 Blue Block Party, where the challenge gift was announced.

A $20 million challenge grant from two anonymous donors will give Case Western Reserve the opportunity to establish 20 new endowed professorships in engineering and medicine.

President Barbara R. Snyder announced the gift Thursday at the university’s annual Blue Block party, noting that one of the two earned degrees from both the engineering and medical schools. In addition, President Snyder explained, both have given to the university for more than four decades.

In a letter about their latest commitment, the alumnus explained, “much of what I have been able to achieve in life is the result of the education I received and the experiences I enjoyed at Case Western Reserve University.”

The generosity of previous contributors to the university’s Forward Thinking capital campaign has provided support for 96 new endowed professorships across the campus. This new gift aims to catalyze the creation of another 10 each in engineering and medicine. Through this gift, for each dollar given to a professorship, the grant will provide an equal amount toward the $2 million needed to create an endowed faculty position.

“It is difficult to put into words how grateful we are for this incredible gift,” School of Medicine Dean Pamela B. Davis said during Thursday’s event. “… [W]ith this gift, you will bring countless opportunities for future generations to achieve their highest potential.”

Following Davis at the podium, Case School of Engineering Dean Venkataramanan “Ragu” Balakrishnan noted that he had just assumed his role here on Sept. 1.

“What a welcome, to have received a gift of this magnitude so early in my tenure here,” he said. “Transformational support such as this speaks to the depth of commitment and loyalty our alumni feel to their alma mater, and to their belief and trust in the future of our school.”