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$10 million gift from Donald and Pamela Washkewicz, and The Parker Hannifin Foundation to catapult Cleveland State to forefront of engineering education, research, innovation

CLEVELAND – November [19], 2013 – Cleveland State University announced today a $10 million gift from Donald and Pamela Washkewicz, and The Parker Hannifin Foundation that will catapult the university to the forefront of engineering education, research and innovation. Donald Washkewicz, who grew up in Garfield Heights and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from CSU in 1972, is Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President of Parker Hannifin Corporation, headquartered in Greater Cleveland. 

In recognition of the transformative gift – equaling the largest-ever in university history and by far the largest for the engineering program – the CSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rename the College the Washkewicz College of Engineering at Cleveland State University.

“We are tremendously grateful to Don and Pam Washkewicz and The Parker Hannifin Foundation for their exceptional generosity,” said CSU President Ronald M. Berkman. “The value they assign to integrity, compassion, philanthropy and life-long learning will forever provide a positive example for each of our students. Moreover, CSU historians will view this gift not only as a legacy defined by the Washkewicz name but as ‘the’ moment of the 21st century when engineering students saw their learning environment at CSU emerge from the past and present to the future.” 

Long known as Fenn College of Engineering, the engineering program has more than 12,000 living alumni. It traces its origins to 1923 when Fenn College, a small urban commuter college, was founded as part of the Cleveland YMCA’s education program and named in honor of Sereno Peck Fenn, who was the longstanding board chair of the YMCA and an early partner in Sherwin-Williams. The university will continue to honor the Fenn history by renaming the engineering building Fenn Hall. The university will also maintain the Fenn co-op program, which celebrated its 90th anniversary several weeks ago.

Donald Washkewicz said, “Pam and I and our entire family are delighted to provide this gift to Cleveland State and its engineering program. My experience at CSU was so rewarding and I am forever grateful to the university and the people who helped me. At Parker, we have enjoyed a close relationship with the CSU engineering program that has yielded many new opportunities and enabled us to hire many very talented people. My hope is that the additional support we are providing will enable the CSU engineering program to do even more to make engineering a core driver of job growth and economic opportunity in the region.”

In addition to his degree from CSU, Washkewicz holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University. He received an honorary doctorate degree in Engineering from Cleveland State in 2004. He also received the 2002 George B. Davis Distinguished Alumnus Award from CSU and Fenn College of Engineering as well as the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University.

The gift will facilitate major physical infrastructure improvements to the 1920s-era building previously known as Stilwell Hall, which houses the engineering program and is now being renamed Fenn Hall. The structure was built as the Ohio Motors Building and was renovated in the late 1950s, with patchwork renovation over the past six decades. CSU recently received a $12.7 million state capital appropriation to make structural improvements, but those resources are insufficient to fully transform the building to a state-of-the-art facility.

Proposed renovations include enhancing classroom space, mobility, student and faculty gathering areas and offices, and creating a new entrance from Chester Avenue and East 24th Street. However, the hallmarks of the transformation will be two unique laboratory spaces – a Learning Incubator for Undergraduate Education and a Laboratory for Research and Innovation.

“This generous gift will allow us to provide additional scholarships and to foster and jumpstart the creation of an academic environment that promotes innovation, discovery and entrepreneurship, and facilitates collaboration with industry,” said Berkman. “By reinventing our program in order to provide our students with greater intellectual development opportunities, superb technical capabilities, the ability to work as part of a team, to communicate well and to understand the economic, social, environmental and international context of engineering, we will graduate students who are ready for the future.”

Primarily but not exclusively focused on undergraduate education, the new Learning Incubator will provide interdisciplinary, hands-on education beyond the classroom. In addition to taking the required fundamental engineering lab courses and working on design projects that span the four years of study, students will have the ability to work on their own innovations. Students from other disciplines, such as the arts, business and science, will be encouraged to become involved in design and innovation.

The Laboratory for Research and Innovation will provide engineering faculty, their students and collaborators with state-of-the-art space for interdisciplinary engineering research and innovation. The facility will accommodate many types of research – from rooms equipped for “wet-lab” research in such areas as biomedical, chemical, environmental and materials-related research to other spaces for applications such as robotics and control, mechanical testing and computer simulations.

Anette Karlsson, Dean of the College of Engineering, said, “We are committed to developing innovative approaches to curricula, rethinking traditional teaching modes, utilizing e-learning tools, and providing the student with a ‘blended’ learning experience where we optimize the use of online resources and direct interaction with the professors. We believe our efforts to drive innovation in engineering education will increase the number of CSU graduates while maintaining our recognizable identity of turning out ‘Ready-to-Go’ Engineers.”

The College of Engineering offers B.S., M.S. and Doctor of Engineering degree programs in several engineering fields. Its cooperative education program provides internship opportunities in organizations such as NASA, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and in companies such as Parker Hannifin, Rockwell Automation, GE Lighting, Middough, Keithley, Ford, Lincoln Electric, Sherwin-Williams, FirstEnergy and Lubrizol.

College alumni can be found across the globe working in firms of all sizes and scope, Fortune 500 companies and public agencies. They include CEOs, senior engineers, researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs, professors and authors.

Engineering faculty members are nationally and internationally renowned for their research expertise and accomplishments, attracting external funding from local, state and national agencies, foundations and industry.

The College’s recently established Center for STEMM Education brings together the expertise among CSU’s colleges of Engineering, Science and Education to encourage innovative science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine education programs, strengthen community partnerships and the K-12 student pipeline, increase grant activity and support promising programs related to STEMM.

About Cleveland State University

Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public research institution that provides a dynamic setting for engaged learning. With an enrollment of almost 18,000 students, eight colleges and approximately 200 academic programs, CSU was again chosen for 2013 as one of America's Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit 

About Parker Hannifin Corporation

With annual sales of $13 billion in fiscal year 2013, Parker Hannifin is the world's leading diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, providing precision-engineered solutions for a wide variety of mobile, industrial and aerospace markets. The company employs approximately 58,000 people in 49 countries around the world. Parker has increased its annual dividends paid to shareholders for 57 consecutive fiscal years, among the top five longest-running dividend-increase records in the S&P 500 index. For more information, visit the company's web site at, or its investor information web site at

About The Parker Hannifin Foundation

Incorporated on January 29, 1953, the focus of the Parker Hannifin Foundation is to support educational institutions, health care organizations, and various local charities. Millions of dollars are donated by the Foundation each year to organizations that are making a difference in the lives of Parker employees and the communities where they live and work.