T&D World Magazine

University of Pittsburgh Receives Large Private Foundation Grants, $22 Million From the Richard King Mellon Foundation


The Center for Energy in the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering has received a $22 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation—one of the largest private foundation grants in Pitt’s history. The gift will accelerate the research and education efforts of the center, which is dedicated to improving energy technology development and sustainability through the work of more than 70 world-class faculty members and their research teams.

The majority of the Richard King Mellon grant will be used to create new faculty positions and graduate fellowships and to establish a fund for spurring innovative research. The grant—which also will support research infrastructure and center operations—is designed to bolster the center’s position as a powerful leader in energy research.

“The level of our investment reflects our confidence in the academic and administrative leadership of the University,” said Scott D. Izzo, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. “The center has tremendous potential to make an impact in Pittsburgh, as energy will be the major driver of our regional economy for years to come.”

“After graduating from Pitt’s engineering school, I immediately went to work for Westinghouse and credit much of my success over the course of a long career in the energy industry to the education I received at Pitt,” said Stephen R. Tritch (ENG ’71, KGSB ’77), chair of the University’s Board of Trustees. “As President and CEO of Westinghouse, I came to more fully appreciate the broader impact of the University, both in developing a well educated work force and as a powerful research partner. The fact that Pitt re-invested in nuclear engineering, a field that most engineering schools had largely abandoned, was an important factor in the decision by Westinghouse to build its new corporate headquarters in Southwestern Pennsylvania, rather than relocating to another part of the country. This remarkably generous grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation will help position Pitt to expand its energy programs in ways that also will advance this region’s strong and growing energy industry.”

Established in 2008, Pitt’s Center for Energy is dedicated to pursuing studies in energy delivery and efficiency, advanced materials for demanding energy technologies, carbon management, and energy diversification.

“With this funding, we will be in a much better position to attract top-notch faculty and students to our region,” said Center for Energy Director Brian Gleeson, the Harry S. Tack Chair in Materials Science and a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science in the Swanson School. “This will advance our creative and productive partnerships with regional and national companies, and with national laboratories, particularly our region’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).”

To date, the Swanson School and University of Pittsburgh have invested $50 million in facilities and programs, and faculty members in energy-related disciplines have attracted more than $35 million in sponsored research.

Funds from the Richard King Mellon Foundation grant will be payable over three years.

Established in 2008, the Center for Energy is dedicated to improving energy technology development and sustainability, including energy delivery and efficiency, advanced materials for demanding energy technologies, carbon management and utilization, and energy diversification. Joining the Center for Energy is a team of more than 70 faculty members already working in energy research from the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Geology, and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, for the purpose of leveraging their work and expertise. The Center for Energy’s key goals include attracting more world-class faculty to Pitt, training high-level engineers and scientists to work in key areas of energy research, facilitating technology transfer related to energy for economic development, increasing energy support, and raising the stature of our region as a leader in energy.

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