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$1.5 million gift creates endowed chair supporting SEAS

01/24/2013

A $1.5 million gift from Miami University parent Karen Buchwald Wright, president and CEO of Ariel Corporation, has endowed a chair supporting the Karen Buchwald Wright Assistant Dean for Student Success within Miami’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS).

“Karen’s gift is a significant step toward the aspiration of Miami University and the School of Engineering and Applied Science to make our students’ experiences among the very best in the nation,” said SEAS Dean Marek Dollár.

The endowed chair provides the Karen Buchwald Wright (KBW) Assistant Dean for Student Success with the resources to pursue opportunities that enhance student success through engaging SEAS students and developing programming that encourages collaboration, supports personal success and enhances professional development.

“It’s important that modern engineers know both their subject matter and how to work with team members toward project goals that often extend beyond the scope of a single individual,” Wright said. “Engineers in technical industries are no longer confined to a single discipline and may be involved in sales, field service, manufacturing, research & development, customer support and management. This endowment will help arm new engineers with the personal and social skills they need to succeed as professionals.”

Wright’s son Hunter Wright (Miami ’11) graduated with a bachelor’s in general engineering. Her youngest son, Samuel Wright, is a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering. Wright credited Hunter’s relationship with current KBW Assistant Dean for Student Success Brian Kirkmeyer and Samuel’s enthusiasm for Miami’s mechanical engineering program as factors in her decision.

“Karen’s generosity is going to profoundly impact our ability to not only attract and retain top-notch students but also to provide the types of high-impact experiences that get students excited about engineering and computer science,” Kirkmeyer said. “The resources made possible through this endowment will enhance the ways we engage and connect with current students, prospective students, alumni and corporate partners, enabling us to better support our students’ academic success while laying the foundations for their personal and professional success.”

Wright has been president and CEO of Ariel Corporation—the largest manufacturer of reciprocating natural gas compressors in the world—since 2001. Ariel is based in Mt. Vernon and features one of the largest manufacturing facilities in Ohio. It is a second-generation family business that was started by Wright’s father, Jim Buchwald, in the family’s basement.

“The opportunities for young engineers, who are needed to drive design and technical innovation in the 21st century, are tremendous,” Wright said. “By supporting Miami in its efforts to produce well-rounded and well-equipped professionals, I hope this will help advance America’s legacy as the font of innovation and entrepreneurship for the world.”

Wright’s gift supports The Miami University campaign For Love and Honor, which as the university’s most successful fundraising campaign has raised nearly $470 million in support of Miami’s priorities.

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