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Gift endows chemical engineering fund at KU

September 1, 2016

A $1 million dollar gift commitment from a retired University of Kansas engineering faculty member will endow a fund named in honor of four influential professors.

The Herbert and Grace Himmelstein Endowment for the Bishop-Rosson-Swift-Marchello Chemical Engineering Fund at KU will support chemical engineering graduate students and faculty in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at KU.

Kenneth Himmelstein, who established the gift, was a faculty member at KU from 1976 to 1988. The gift recognizes the accomplishments of Kenneth Bishop, Harold Rosson and the late George “Bill” Swift, all engineering professors at KU, and Joseph Marchello, formerly of the University of Maryland.

The four professors are being recognized for their academic, educational and service contributions to their respective students, departments and universities.

Bishop is retired and lives in Lawrence. His research specialty was in the area of computer applications to chemical engineering.

Rosson is also retired and living in Lawrence. In addition to his accomplishments in traditional academic areas, he was a former department chair and associate dean of engineering.

Swift, a KU alumnus, received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering from KU before becoming a professor. His research area was in the physical properties of liquids and gases.

The late Joe Marchello was an engineering professor at the University of Maryland. Marchello went on to become the chancellor at the University of Missouri-Rolla and president of Old Dominion University in Virginia.

Michael Branicky, dean of KU’s School of Engineering, said, “This gift helps KU Engineering fill a critical need. Funding that supports our outstanding faculty and helps to recruit more top minds to KU Engineering is essential to our continued success.”

The fund will support a named assistant professorship in a nontraditional chemical engineering field; named graduate student fellowships based on merit; and an award fund for junior faculty members and graduate students to attend professional meetings or purchase textbooks.

Himmelstein encourages anyone who had experience with the educators for which the fund is named to donate to the fund and continue the spirit of academic generosity that Bishop, Rosson, Swift and Marchello exemplified.

“The principal reason for setting up this fund is one, to honor these people, and two, to provide opportunities to graduate students and faculty who might not otherwise have opportunities for growth,” he said.

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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September 1, 2016
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