Photo of Charles J. “Bud” and Katie Koch
Charles J. “Bud” and Katie Koch

Visionary Cleveland business leader and family commit $1.25 million to Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building

As a Case Western Reserve University trustee for more than two decades, including several years as the board’s chair, Charles J. “Bud” Koch held a front-row seat for some of the institution’s most transformative advances.

Now, he, his wife Katie and their family have committed $1.25 million to support its largest campus project in nearly a half century: the 189,000-square-foot Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building (ISEB).

A century bond the university issued in 2022 will allow the gift to be fully matched, increasing the family’s impact to $2.5 million.

“Think about the all-stars—students, faculty, staff—we seek to attract to this university,” Koch noted. “The ISEB will not only be the home for transformative research, it will allow us to draw the best and brightest to our campus and city for years to come.”

On the university’s board, Koch serves on its campus planning committee, whose members reviewed multiple studies offering a consistent conclusion: To maintain its standing as a leading research institution, Case Western Reserve must provide the modern, well-designed facilities required for collaborative, state-of-the-art research.

“Bud and Katie Koch and their family recognize the value of expanding research—not only to the university, but also for our region,” President Eric W. Kaler said, “We deeply appreciate their support.”

The $300 million project not only will help Case Western Reserve attract more outstanding faculty and increase research, but also catalyze innovations that contribute more broadly to greater Cleveland’s economy.

Koch’s affinity for the city and university runs deep. His father, Charles Joseph Koch, graduated from Case Institute of Technology in 1941, and his sons Charles Brian Koch (MGT ‘00) and John P. Koch (MGT ‘04) are alumni of the university’s Weatherhead School of Management. Koch himself had an impressive career as the former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Cleveland-based Charter One Financial Inc.

“One of the reasons I wanted to be on the board was to make Cleveland a bigger and better place,” said Koch. “To the extent that we can do better research, ISEB is only a good thing for Case Western Reserve and our city.”