Without the generous and ongoing support of our alumni, friends, and industry partners, the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering couldn't continue to provide the top-tier engineering education we offer our students or to contribute to society through our faculty’s leading-edge research. This story highlights the generosity of two MIME benefactors: IME emeritus professor Thomas West and his wife Carmen West.
Tom West's career at Oregon State University spanned nearly 30 years. In 1976, having earlier earned his Ph.D. in industrial engineering at OSU, he returned to Corvallis as an IE faculty member, specializing in engineering economic analysis, intermodal transportation systems and integrated manufacturing systems. During his time at OSU, Dr. West served as faculty advisor for the IIE and SME student chapters and spearheaded establishment of the university’s Manufacturing Engineering degree program and of the highly successful Manufacturing Engineering Co-op Program that would later evolve into MECOP/CECOP. He also co-authored two classic textbooks on engineering economy and served as IME department head as well as associate dean and interim dean of the College of Engineering. West was elected to the College of Engineering’s Hall of Fame in 2004 and in 2012 delivered the keynote speech at the MIME commencement ceremony.
Following his retirement in 1998, West and his wife Carmen —a longtime Hewlett-Packard employee—have maintained a strong connection with the OSU community through ongoing research activity, professional society involvement, and faculty and student mentoring. Their ongoing involvement with the School of MIME and larger OSU community have also included many generous monetary contributions. In fact, their gift-giving activities exemplify three great ways of leveraging substantial additional monetary support for programs, faculty, and students: through employer matches, challenge matches, and provost matches.
The Wests' first major gift established an endowed scholarship to support undergraduate students in IME. Some of their gifts were matched by Carmen’s employer, Hewlett-Packard. Employer matching programs can double or even triple the impact of a charitable contribution. Sometimes retirees and spouses also qualify. To check on your company's policy, use the OSU Foundation search engine.
Endowment Challenge Match
In 2008 the Wests made a gift to help create an unrestricted endowment fund for OSU's industrial and manufacturing engineering programs. They designed their gift as a challenge, offering to match up to $25,000 in endowment donations from alumni and friends. In his challenge letter to these individuals, Tom cited the class he taught for many years, noting that "while the details of your Engineering Economy course may have faded from memory by now, I'm confident you'll recognize that a dollar-for-dollar match to grow IME is a darn good deal." The IME endowment fund balance now stands at almost $150,000.
Provost's Faculty Match
Most recently, Tom and Carmen made a $250,000 commitment to create an endowment for an IME faculty member (see right) as part of the Provost's Faculty Match Program. This program encourages donors to create faculty endowments that support the priorities in OSU's strategic plan. Over five years, the Wests' gift will leverage an additional $62,500 from the Provost's Office.
As the Wests are quick to attest, giving wisely can be very rewarding. "A $1,000 scholarship may not seem like much,” Tom notes, “but it can keep a student in school. And a faculty endowment can cause a rising faculty star to stay at OSU rather than moving on."
If you would like to contribute to the continuing development and achievements in the School of MIME, please explore any of the previously mentioned avenues (employer match, endowment challenge match, and provost's faculty match) to find out more. You can also contribute to the MIME Excellence Fund, a fund designed to promote and retain high-quality faculty in MIME.