Wichita State Foundation pledges $2.5 million for endowed chair in innovation engineering.

Foundation Pledges $2.5 Million

for Endowed Chair in Innovation Engineering

The Wichita State Foundation on Octo. 2, 2014 announced a $2.5 million pledge from the Sam and Rie Bloomfield Foundation to establish the Sam Bloomfield Chair in Innovation Engineering. This will be the third endowed chair in the College of Engineering supported by the Bloomfield Foundation.

Current endowed chairs are held by Dr. John Tomblin, Vice President of Research and Technology Transfer, Executive Director of the National Institute for Aviation Research, and the Sam Bloomfield Chair in Aerospace Engineering; and Dr. Muhammad Rahman, Chair of Mechanical Engineering and the Sam Bloomfield Chair in Engineering.

"We truly value the opportunities that the Bloomfield Foundation have entrusted us with. Endowed chair positions are investments that shape our future. Holders of endowed chairs move departments, colleges, and universities in new directions, from good to great," said Royce Bowden, dean of the College of Engineering.

Bowden outlined the plans for the new Sam Bloomfield Chair in Innovation Engineering:

"In fall of 2016, we will move into a new building that will define the gateway into the innovation campus. The Experiential Engineering and Makerspace Building is being designed to channel students, their faculty, and industry into the same laboratory at the same time to accelerate collisions between student creativity, faculty know-how, and industry needs. When something spins out from a collision, a Technology Transfer office will be across the hall to move the innovation forward.

"The building will provide a wonderful framework for innovation. However, innovation does not occur without people, and this is where the new Sam Bloomfield Chair in Innovation Engineering comes into play.

"The holder of this important chair will be an innovator who will help us infuse our curricula and our research with an entrepreneurial spirit. Students will not only graduate with valuable intellectual property, they will also know how to capitalize on it to advance economic and technological prosperity, health, and well-being in our region and beyond.

"The holder of the Sam Bloomfield Chair in Innovation Engineering will have to be an exceptional leader and will play an important role in the College of Engineering as we achieve our significant responsibility within the Innovation University. Details about how and when the position will be filled are being determined," Bowden said.

Sam Bloomfield, an aeronautical engineer, was president of Swallow Airplane Company, based in Wichita, from 1934 to 1956. He was an entrepreneur and inventor who acquired 23 U.S. patents for his innovations.