Case Western Reserve University President Barbara Snyder, Case School of Engineering Dean Norman Tien and other university officials met yesterday with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Ohio and Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher to discuss renewable energy efforts underway at the university through the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation.
"We are pleased to have Speaker Pelosi and Congresswoman Sutton visit campus to learn more about how Case Western Reserve University is contributing to this great nation, particularly in the areas of renewable energy, research and education," said Snyder. "We are diligent in keeping our legislative delegations updated on our research and economic development activities and appreciate their leadership and interest in the important work done by our faculty researchers, especially regarding the tremendous potential for producing renewable energy on Lake Erie."
The vision of the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation is to enable the transition to advanced, sustainable energy generation, storage, distribution and utilization through coordinated research, development and education. The distinctive feature of the institute will be its ability to translate results from the leading edge of Case Western Reserve's research thrusts in renewable power, energy storage and efficiency to the next generation of energy technologies.
During a 30-minute meeting with the speaker and congresswoman, Tien provided an overview of the institute, including addressing the critical importance of national security and the national grid, energy independence, education and economic development; David Matthiesen, associate professor of materials science and engineering and a member of the advisory committee of the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative, spoke about the university's efforts through the Cuyahoga County Wind Initiative, including the goal of establishing the first freshwater offshore wind farm in the world in Lake Erie; and Dianne Anderson, the new executive director of the institute, who spoke about the university's historic international leadership role in fuel cell research and development and in Ohio through the Case Fuel Cell Center, as well as the challenges and opportunities in developing the alternative renewable energy industry in Northeast Ohio.
Pelosi said she was impressed with what she heard. At a press conference afterward, she thanked Snyder, Provost William A. "Bud" Baselack and the rest of the group present for their leadership in making Ohio a center of research and innovation.
"Ohio has led the way in investing in advancing new technologies and creating innovative energy solutions, namely in the country's flagship issues, such as jobs for the future, reducing dependency on foreign oil and building up our national infrastructure," Pelosi said. "These are issues we will have to continue to address ourselves, as a country."
Pelosi also thanked two of the university's leading donors to energy innovation and education: the Maltz Family Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, which provided a $2 million grant to Case Western Reserve in March 2008 to establish the Milton and Tamar Maltz Professorship in Energy Innovation, the university's first endowed professorship in energy; and alumnus Larry Sears, founder of Hexagram Inc., a Cleveland-based electronics company that designs wireless meter-reading systems for utility companies, who, along with his wife, Sally Zlotnick Sears, gave $6 million to the Case School of Engineering in March 2006 to fund the Sears Undergraduate Design Laboratory.
"We are all in your debt," Pelosi told Sears and Kittie Warshawsky, executive vice president of the Maltz Family Foundation.
Sutton echoed Pelosi's sentiments and praised the university for its work in alternative energy research and development.
"It is clear that our country needs to move away from foreign sources of energy and increase our domestic production of alternative, renewable power. I am proud that Case Western Reserve University and others are at the forefront of developing the next generation of American made energy," Sutton said. "Projects like the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation have the potential to lead our country towards energy independence, while creating jobs and bringing renewed economic vitality to our region. I commend Speaker Pelosi for her work on this issue and I am happy she was able to see first hand the important work Northeastern Ohio is doing for our country."
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.