August 12, 2008

New Graduate Fellowship to Support Energy Institute

Walter J. Culver

The Case School of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University has received a $250,000 gift from Dr. Walter J. Culver (CIT ‘62/’64) to endow the Walt and Sylvia Culver Engineering Fellowship for Sustainable Infrastructure. The fund will support graduate students in disciplines related to the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation.

For Culver, as a donor, the institute presents an opportunity to make a high-impact investment in tackling the issue of energy sustainability. “Innovation must be applied to the problem of energy sustainability,” Culver notes. “There has not been sufficient attention paid to redeveloping and repairing energy infrastructure in this country, improving the efficiency of energy production as a whole, and thereby improving our ability to compete worldwide.”

“A vital part of our efforts to meet the world’s long-term energy challenges is to educate and train the next generation of leaders,” adds Norman C. Tien, dean and Nord Professor of Engineering. “The Culver Fellowship encourages the best and brightest young minds to explore these questions in a meaningful way through graduate studies at the Case School of Engineering.”

From his first conversations about the new energy institute with Dean Tien, Culver has been intrigued. “It is especially exciting to be part of discussions about how to come up with global solutions,” he says. “For energy, it is partly a technological issue, partly economic, but to a much greater degree it is a socio-political issue: how do you get the citizenry to move from indifference or even resistance to support?”

Culver’s approach to solving problems with a global systems approach has been a consistent theme throughout his forty-year career in applied mathematics and IT systems. Culver is principal co-founder and retired vice chairman at SI International, which defines, develops, and operates mission-critical systems largely for the federal government. Earlier, for 21 years, Dr. Culver held top management positions at Computer Sciences Corporation, where he was recognized for his contributions to the automation of the Navy’s Aegis fleet.

Culver’s decision to make a leadership gift can be attributed in part to the National Defense Education Act Fellowship that enabled him to go to graduate school at Case Institute of Technology. “Becoming an NDEA fellow was a huge boon to us,” notes Culver, who with his wife Sylvia felt it was time to “give something back.” He has funded his gift with a stock transfer, allowing him to simultaneously support the university and defray capital gains taxes. “When we told our children that we wanted to give something back to society, they were very supportive.”

To learn more about supporting energy innovation at Case Western Reserve, please contact the development office at 216-368-4532.

Posted by: Amy Raufman August 12, 2008 02:22 PM | Category: Case School of Engineering , Endowment , Energy , Individuals , Priorities , Schools , Source , Student Investment