Giving Takes People
Lurie Philanthropy at Michigan Engineering
In 1990, as his life drew to a close, Robert H. Lurie (BSE IOE ’64, MSE ’66) spent hours each day with Ann (LLD Hon. ’03), his wife, discussing the future of their business investments. An important part of those daily discussions also involved philanthropy.
Regarding his alma mater, Bob had one wish. “When the time is right,” he said, “do something for the College of Engineering.” It was a request that Ann would honor diligently and magnanimously. And it was one that dovetailed with her own philosophy of helping organizations with proven expertise move to an even higher level.
Building a Cohesive Community
It was in 1993, Ann recalled, that “Michigan representatives came to me with the idea of building a gateway to the Engineering facilities and further solidifying the North Campus with a bell tower.” When she learned that the architect selected by the College was Charles Moore (BAA CAUP ’47, RACK ARC Hon. ’92), someone long admired by her husband, “it sealed the deal.”
That first gift from the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation was instrumental in creating the Lurie Tower with carillon, and in completing the landmark Robert H. Lurie Engineering Center. “These two buildings accomplished what we all hoped they would,” she said. “They added an architecturally appropriate presence to the Engineering complex and provided a focal point for students and faculty as well as making a statement of solidarity.”
“A Personal Coup”
“The ability to interface with living systems at the cellular level is very powerful,” said LNF Director Kensall Wise, the J. Reid and Polly Anderson Professor of Manufacturing Technology and William Gould Dow Distinguished University Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “Thanks to Ann Lurie’s generosity, we now have the capacity to correct some of the most debilitating diseases known to humankind.”
For her part, Ann Lurie couldn’t be more pleased: “I see biomedical engineering as the perfect blend of my and Bob’s interests. It’s a personal coup, knowing that we’ve been able to provide more facilities for wonderfully intelligent people to do their work.”
Social Investing: WIMS and Nanotechnology
As a former pediatric nurse and the founder of a major healthcare initiative in Kenya, Ann is passionate about healthcare and medical diagnostics. In 2002, that passion led her to invest in the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building, the Robert H. Lurie Nanofabrication Facility (LNF), and the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Professorship of Biomedical Engineering. She added to that investment in 2008 with major equipment funding for the LNF.
According to Professor Khalil Najafi (BSE EE ’80, MSE ’81, PhD ’86), the gifts came at a critical time for CoE’s programs in wireless integrated microsystems and nanotechnology – both of which hold tremendous promise for 21st-century medicine. Najafi, chair and Schlumberger Professor of Engineering, heads up Michigan’s National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network. He pointed out that “Michigan Engineering has been a pioneer in microassays and implantable biomedical devices. Our work has laid the foundation for everything from cochlear ear implants and prosthetic arms to environmental sensors and DNA analysis on microchips.”
The addition of the LNF has not only kept the College competitive but, by providing R&D space for high-tech companies, contributes as much as $500 million annually to the state’s economy. The facility also hosts graduate students from 20 other universities and presents educational programs for high-school, middle-school and elementary students throughout the region.
John Tishman – Loyal Friend of Michigan Engineering
John Tishman (BSE EE ’46, D. Eng Hon. ’00), an honorary co-chair of Progress & Promise: 150th Anniversary Campaign, is a true friend of Michigan Engineering, and the consequences of that relationship are visible throughout the College – in bricks-and-mortar contributions, in the classroom, and in leadership that has energized and guided the College of Engineering for decades.
Tishman, who received the College of Engineering’s Alumni Society Medal in 1998 and an honorary degree in 2000, has a reputation for generosity far beyond the Michigan Engineering campus. He serves on the Board of Directors of Carnegie Hall. He helped establish Camp Central Park, a summer educational outreach program for youth, and has served on the boards of the Ronald McDonald House, New York Medical Center and Pratt Institute. The New York Landmarks Conservancy named Tishman a “Living Landmark.” And he’s received the Historic Business Achievement Award from the Museum of the City of New York.
Tishman Hall is a large atrium that houses a food court and the Fred C. Shure Lounge and Learning Center. Shure was Tishman’s friend and a former student.
The John L. Tishman Fellowship
The John L. Tishman Fellowship supports an engineering graduate student each year. Manu Akula, the current John L. Tishman Fellow, earned his undergraduate degree from IIT Bombay. He said that he selected Michigan Engineering in order to be “part of one of the best engineering programs in the world.”
The John L. Tishman Professorship of Engineering
The John L. Tishman Professorship supports an endowed chair to advance the teaching and scholarship of a distinguished faculty member. Computer Science and Engineering Professor John Laird (BS ’75) is the John L. Tishman Professor of Engineering.
- Read more about Laird