College of Engineering at UMass Amherst Receives $1 Million Endowment From Alumnus Charles Perrell

AMHERST, Mass. - he College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts has received a $1 million endowment from alumnus Charles F. Perrell. The endowment will support students, teaching, and research in the department of civil and environmental engineering.

The announcement was made Nov. 13 at the College of Engineering''s celebration dinner and kickoff for Campaign UMass at the Museum of Science in Boston. Campaign UMass is a comprehensive venture aimed at raising $125 million in five years, enlisting advocates, and enhancing the image of the University. The College of Engineering is slated to raise $25 million toward that $125 million goal in the areas of curriculum initiatives, student scholarship, endowments for faculty professorships, and the development of teaching and research facilities.

The Perrell endowment is the largest private donation and the largest cash contribution to date to the college and the civil and environmental engineering department. Dean of Engineering Joseph I. Goldstein called Perrell''s endowment "a major pace-setting gift that signals a bright future for the college."

Perrell, who earned a B.S. degree in industrial engineering in 1971 and an MBA from the University in 1972, is the founder and president of Environmental Software Inc., in California. Of the $1 million endowment, $500,000 is earmarked for scholarships, $300,000 for teaching and research, and $200,000 for start-up and equipment upgrades.

Perrell said that the gift marks an interest in supporting "a top university for environmental engineering education, especially regarding that intersection of environmental science and computer science." The intersection of the two fields has significant impact on the college in that it accelerates the use of technology, specifically computer tools and software, Goldstein said.

The gift will enable the civil and environmental engineering department to use computer simulations and field applications with a focus on environmental remediation and management. The scholarship portion of the endowment will support a minimum of two civil and environmental engineering students. The students may be in their junior or senior years, or in the graduate program in environmental engineering, which includes areas such as water resources, air quality, geoenvironmental, environmental management, and related concentrations.

The teaching and research portion of the gift will support a combination of faculty research bringing together environmental engineering and computer science; one or two undergraduates, or a postdoctoral researcher to serve as a resource person in software applications in both undergraduate and graduate level courses; or the development of computer software for environmental engineering. The final portion of the gift will be used for a combination of the start-up costs of faculty research and computer equipment to support classrooms and laboratories in environmental engineering.

"We appreciate Charles Perrell''s great interest in supporting students and faculty," Goldstein said. "I compliment him on his vision of the future in the areas of engineering education and research, and his willingness to invest in the college."