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NJIT receives second part of $1M gift to chemical engineering department

NJIT announced today the fulfillment of the late Otto H. York's $1M pledge to NJIT. Daughter of the visionary York, Myrth York of Providence, RI, presented NJIT with a check for $490,000 to complete the commitment to the Otto H. York Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering. In 2002, the department was named in honor Otto H. York, chemical engineer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and long-time benefactor of the university. York had pledged $1M to the department to establish an endowment supporting scholarships to attract outstanding students and to support faculty research.

"Over the years, NJIT has had many reasons to be grateful for the deep personal concern that Otto York showed for our university, and for his generous financial support," said NJIT President Robert A. Altenkirch. "But his concern and support are not just part of our past; they are very much invaluable components of our future. Otto York's legacy of engagement with the department of chemical, biological and pharmaceutical engineering that bears his name will enable NJIT to foster the talents of exceptional young women and men, and to maintain our leadership in disciplines vital to the prosperity of New Jersey and the nation."

The gift empowers Chairman Norman Loney, PhD, to actuate his five-year plan.

Following the Engineer of 2020 vision of the National Academy of Engineering (NEA), Loney's strategy connects diversity and industry. As his first initiative, Loney will bring on board a female university lecturer with professional pharmaceutical industry research experience who will help to pursue opportunities for NSF-funded student experiential education. The new faculty member will continue to connect with industry to build a long-range plan including increased hands-on experiences for students: internships, co-op activity and research.

"The new model is not simply 'professor to students' but an interactive education where research takes place in the classroom, not just at a seminar," explained Loney. "The undergraduates will be the biggest beneficiaries." Although new to many US universities and colleges, industry experience is mandatory for students at European universities. This is not new for NJIT but it will take the industry experience to the next level.

As one of the university's first departments, real-world work experience has long been incorporated into the curriculum through cooperative education with area companies. The department's faculty has also developed research partnerships with industry and government. Chemical engineering alumni hold leading positions in business, law, research and academe. The department's first baccalaureate degrees were awarded in 1923.

Today the department has an enrollment of 231 undergraduates majoring in chemical engineering, and more than 50 pursuing graduate studies. Last year, NJIT awarded 22 bachelor's degrees in chemical engineering, 32 master's degrees, and four PhDs. Chemical engineering currently enrolls the largest percentage of female students of any department in Newark College of Engineering -- 41 percent of the department's students are women.

This spring, Loney was designated a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering, the highest honor bestowed by the professional organization. He has been recognized by NASA and the American Society for Engineering Education research contributions and received NJIT's Newark College of Engineering's Excellent in Teaching Award.

Prior to NJIT, Loney, a licensed professional engineer, practiced engineering at Foster Wheeler, MW Kellogg Company, Oxirane Chemical Company and Exxon.


Contact: Sheryl Weinstein
New Jersey Institute of Technology

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