Turbomachinery Lab commits millions to Texas A&M mechanical engineering program

August 30, 2013
| By: Aubrey Bloom

The Turbomachinery Laboratory (Turbo Lab), a center in the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), committed $2.3 million to the Texas A&M Foundation in July to support faculty and students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Gifts from the Turbo Lab will create the following: two endowed faculty chairs for experts in lubrication related to turbomachinery; an endowed fellowship for mechanical engineering graduate students; an endowed scholarship for mechanical engineering undergraduate students; and an endowed lecture series in the area of turbomachinery.

Funds donated were raised at past Turbomachinery and Pump Symposia, events organized by the Turbo Lab every fall in Houston. This event, which draws more than 5,000 attendees, combines a cutting-edge exhibition hall featuring more than 300 leading companies with a world-class technical program for working engineers. Throughout the more than 40-year history of the symposia, hundreds of companies have supported the event and ultimately supported this financial contribution by sponsoring members of the advisory committees, sending engineers to attend the event, and exhibiting at the symposia.

At an appreciation event on Aug. 21, Dr. Dara Childs, director of the Turbo Lab and holder of the Leland T. Jordan '29 Chair in Mechanical Engineering, was honored for his leadership and vision, which inspired this generous donation. During the event, Childs thanked advisory committee members for their dedication to the symposia and explained the impact of the Founders Scholarship, which is designated for a mechanical engineering student in good standing who experiences unforeseen financial trouble.

"There are heartfelt thoughts behind this money, and out of all of the things this group [advisory committee] has accomplished, you've touched more hearts with the Founders Scholarship than anything else you've done; this money is going to make a big difference in students' lives at Texas A&M," Childs said.

Hari Shrestha '14, a recent Founders Scholarship recipient, described his family's financial struggle when his father, a real estate agent in Nepal, was affected by the global recession.

"All his investments were frozen to the point at which I had to decide whether I should continue my education. That's when I got the Founders Scholarship. I'm really thankful to Dr. Dara Childs and the Foundation for this scholarship, which gives hope to students like me who are from foreign countries or any other students who are trying to get their degree," Shrestha said.

Dr. Andreas Polycarpou, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, acknowledged the 10 endowments that will benefit Texas A&M engineering in perpetuity.

"These endowments span across all the essential elements of a preeminent engineering department: the students, the faculty and visibility to the outside world," he said.

The Turbo Lab conducts basic and applied research into important problems of reliability and performance of turbomachinery. For more information on research initiatives or how to participate in the Turbomachinery and Pump Symposia, visit turbolab.tamu.edu.

For more about the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, visit engineering.tamu.edu/mechanical


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