The General Electric Company has presented a $300,000 check to Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering to create three endowed fellowships in memory of its three slain engineering professors killed on April 16.
In addition, the college’s Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has received an additional $25,000 from a GE employee, James Berlin.
"The first gift is made in recognition of the deep connection and long standing relationship between the General Electric Company and the faculty of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Our intention is to honor the memory of three outstanding faculty who are now lost to us, professors Kevin Granata, Liviu Librescu, and G.V. Loganathan,” said Charles “Chip” Blankenship, Jr., general manager of the GE Aero Energy group and a materials science engineering graduate of Virginia Tech.
“GE is donating the funds necessary to create permanently endowed graduate fellowships in their names. We sincerely hope that this gesture will help foster the healing process ––and allow the spirit and the work of these dedicated faculty to continue at Virginia Tech," Blankenship, also a member of the College of Engineering’s Advisory Board, added.
College of Engineering Dean Richard C. Benson received the check, saying “Each of the faculty members we lost that day was indeed an incredible teacher and mentor. Their first concern was always their students. I believe this significant contribution from GE directed towards the support of engineering students pursuing their doctorates is indeed a fitting testimony to the work of Professors Granata, Librescu, and Loganathan.”
The second GE gift was presented by Berlin, a 1979 electrical and computer engineering alumnus of Virginia Tech.
GE honored Berlin with its prestigious Edison Award, named after Thomas Edison, one of its founders and history's most prolific innovator. The Edison awards are presented to individuals for recent technical contributions that have made a significant impact on the current and future vitality of GE‘s business.
As an Edison Award winner, Berlin received a $25,000 grant from GE to fund research at a university of his choice. He selected Virginia Tech. Jim Thorp, ECE department head, thanked Berlin for the gift that will be used for student projects in the embedded systems area, including Virginia Tech's award winning E-textiles program.
Berlin, vice president of technology for GE Fanuc of Charlottesville, Va., has more than 27 years of experience designing and leading teams in the area of programmable control and embedded systems. Through his technology leadership he has been instrumental in firmly placing GE Fanuc in a leadership position as a high end embedded system supplier for military, aerospace and commercial applications.
In addition to Berlin’s strong technical contributions, he continues to demonstrate strong values inside and outside of work. He is active in the local community, and has led a housing construction mission to Luanda, Angola.