In order to provide flexible funds to support a variety of needs, the ISE Department established a permanent endowment fund in 2007 called the Excellence Fund (EF). Gifts to the EF are not spent in the current year but are invested through the VT Foundation. The ISE Department spends only the associated earnings from this investment each year—thus, the EF provides a means to invest in the future. With this fund, we seek to create a culture of giving by asking alumni and friends of ISE to make an annual gift to the EF. The average first-time contribution to the EF is $275, and 58% of EF donors have given in multiple years and even every year! In December 2016, we had a very successful Give Challenge to our Advisory Board members, former Board members, and members of the Academy of Distinguished Alumni, resulting in $61,000 of new gifts to the EF. Keep an eye out for future Give Challenges! One of the priorities for this upcoming year is increasing the total number of contributors to the EF - we stand at 108 currently, out of about 6,000 industrial engineering alumni (see graph below).
EF earnings have been used almost exclusively to support student activities. For example, this past year, the EF made possible the following:
- Sending ~65 ISE graduate and undergraduate students to attend regional, national, and international conferences/events to present their research work, learn what’s new in ISE, and network;
- Sending a group of students to visit Duke University Health System (described in this newsletter) to learn about IE in healthcare;
- Supporting the costs associated with the ISE Ambassadors;
- Covering transportation costs for all new sophomores in the ISE 2004 Introduction to ISE to visit a facility/plant;
- Travel for a hand-picked senior design team to attend the capstone competition held at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point;
- Financial support to ISE student organizations (INFORMS, HFES, APM, and IISE), particularly to support events/activities made available to all ISE students; and
- Financial support and sponsorship for organizations and events focused on under-represented students with interest in ISE.
The Excellence Fund is truly making a difference in the opportunities we are able to provide our students. We are grateful for the generosity of alumni and friends who have made this possible.
For more information, please visit the Excellence Fund page on the ISE website.