Ohio University

Search within:

Alumnus’ continued generosity helps recruit and retain talented Department of Engineering Technology and Management faculty

Published: February 16, 2022 Author: Staff reports

Through a recent generous gift, alumnus Bob Kraft, BSME ’61, and his wife Marie have expanded the existing Kraft Family Scholar award in Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology, providing additional support to create the Kraft Family Associate Professorships.

The Krafts established the Kraft Family Scholar Awards more than 20 years ago to provide associate professors of the Department of Engineering Technology and Management (ETM) the resources to enhance their academic growth. Over the last 20 years, $208,115 has been awarded.

Portrait of Robert and Marie Kraft
For Bob and Marie Kraft, Ohio University represents a family tradition spanning four generations and including six Kraft Family Bobcats.

After graduating from OHIO, 3.5 years in U.S. Navy, and seven years as a sales engineer, in 1972 Bob and Marie founded Kraft Fluid Systems. Over the last 50 years, their company has grown to be a leading distributor of mobile hydraulic equipment, hydraulic and electric drives, and electronic controls. The company requires International Fluid Power Society (IFPS) certifications for all of its technical employees, and in retirement, Bob Kraft served as president of the IFPS in 2007.

“Throughout my career, I believed education, training, and experience lead to learning and competency,” said Bob Kraft. The Krafts recognized their employee owners by becoming a 100 percent ESOP employee owned in 2000.

ETM Chair Dr. Todd Myers, himself a former Kraft Family Scholar, explains that faculty recipients will be awarded a stipend to support their research and engage in scholarly activities, like traveling to academic conferences. The Krafts’ expanded support will increase the stipend for each new Kraft Family Associate Professor.

“The Kraft Family Scholar has been awarded to high-potential, mid-level, tenured faculty to encourage their growth within Ohio University,” Myers said. “Access to those stipends and showing that type of recognition helps secure those individuals and keep them engaged with the students, stay current in their discipline, and add value to the college, and the department.”

Associate professors Dr. Neil Littell and Dr. Yuqiu You are the current Kraft Family Scholars. You, who started teaching at OHIO in 2015, views the award as a token of appreciation for her hard work.

“I was very honored to receive this award,” she said. “It means that your colleagues, your department, and everyone recognized your hard work here. I think that’s really great for junior faculty like me.”

Thanks in part to the Krafts’ ongoing generosity, the Russ College will continue to attract the high-caliber faculty who receive a Kraft Family Associate Professorship.

“I really appreciate that this award was established, and especially that it is awarded to junior faculty who came to OU and worked for several years,” You said. “This award is definitely something that motivates us.”