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Gifts support integrated learning and research facility at Ohio University

ATHENS, Ohio (March 5, 2007) -- The Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology at Ohio University recently received three charitable gifts to support its new integrated learning and research facility -- and two scholarship programs.

Granville, Ohio, resident F. William Englefield, a 1952 civil engineering graduate, and his wife, Janet, gave $50,000 to name a large project team room in the facility. They also pledged $40,000 to the Appalachian Scholars and Urban Scholars Programs. The Englefields started Englefield Oil Co. in 1961 from an office in the basement of their home, with three service stations. Today, William Englefield is chairman of the board of the company, which operates 96 Duke and Duchess convenience stores.

A former football player who attended Ohio University on scholarship, Englefield credits the university with giving him a unique opportunity. "Without an engineering degree from Ohio University I would never have been able to start Englefield Oil Co. and achieve the success we have had," Englefield said.

Dublin, Ohio, resident Srinath "Mike" Balakrishnan, who received a Master's in structural engineering in 1971, and his wife, Kathy, gave $25,000, also to name a project team room in honor of his father. Balakrishnan is the president and founder of Celmark Development Group Inc., a Columbus-area commercial real estate development company.

Originally from India, Balakrishnan credits Ohio University for granting him admission to the college, which enabled him to pursue his dream of higher education and life and work in the United States. It was there that he met his wife, Kathy, a 1973 interior design graduate.

Warren K. Brown of Fairborn, Ohio, a 1965 industrial technology graduate, gave $10,000 in support of the facility. Brown is a safety officer at Moraine, Ohio's diesel engine manufacturer DMAX Ltd., a joint venture between General Motors and Isuzu Motors.

The gifts will support the design, construction, and acquisition of equipment for the integrated learning and research facility, a $30 million project of the Russ College, College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM) and Colleges of Health and Human Services Arts and Sciences.

To be built on the university's West Green in Athens, the facility will combine world-class research spaces with classrooms and study rooms. The facility will bring together under one roof a variety of disciplines -- from electrical and mechanical engineering to biomedicine and physical therapy -- to explore new medicines, develop new clinical treatments, and advance science, engineering and technology.

Project team rooms are the facility's main spaces for students to work, collaborate and learn. Featuring state-of-the-art technology, white boards for brainstorming, flexible furniture and team storage, the rooms will be used every day by Russ College students on collaborative design teams as well as those working on senior design projects.

Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin noted that the spaces are tailored to meet the needs of today's student engineers. "These are the rooms where students will gather to do the hands-on, team-centered work that will help prepare them to successfully collaborate on teams in their careers," Irwin said.

The construction budget was also boosted with a state of Ohio capital funding allocation of $1,431,170 in late December, and an additional $1 million made available with the support of state Sen. John Carey (R-Wellston), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; state Sen. Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton) and state Rep. Jimmy Stewart (R-Albany).

Englefield's gift to the Appalachian Scholars and Urban Scholars Programs will provide scholarship support for students graduating from urban school districts as well as for students hailing from any one of Ohio's 29 Appalachian counties who demonstrate academic achievement and financial need.

Educating well-rounded professionals with both technical and team-project skills, the Russ College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees across the traditional engineering spectrum and in technology disciplines such as aviation, computer science and industrial technology. World-class research in avionics engineering is an ongoing focus, and strategic research areas include bioengineering, energy and the environment, and smart civil infrastructure. Named for alumnus Fritz Russ and his wife Dolores, the college is home of the Russ Prize, one of the top three engineering prizes in the world. For more information, visit www.ohio.edu/engineering/

The Ohio University Foundation is the repository for all private gifts through annual giving programs, capital, and special campaigns and planned or deferred gifts. The Foundation is an institutionally related, non-profit, tax-exempt, 501c(3) organization.

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Media Contact: Director of External Relations Colleen Girton at 740-593-1488 or girtonc@ohio.edu

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