Gift from engineering alumnus to support student organization space
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Supporting the vision of the new Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering facility is something that Ken Graziani, Penn State chemical engineering alumnus, is pleased to be involved with.
“I remember my time as an undergraduate student and the individuals who went above and beyond to ensure my success,” Graziani said.
“Pledging my support for the new building is just one of the ways I am able to give back to the department. In many ways, it’s the circle of life repeating,” he joked.
A true-blue Penn State fan and active proponent of the University’s chemical engineering program, Graziani, along with his wife, Cindy, have recently committed $100,000 to name the chemical engineering student organization space, an area in the new facility that will house the Penn State student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and Omega Chi Epsilon, the chemical engineering honors society.
Graziani, who earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering in 1970, credits his success in part to the strong connections he was able to build at Penn State. During his time at the University, he served as AIChE student president, and he hopes that by supporting the new space, he will allow young engineers to share the same opportunities he was afforded.
“My desire for the new student organization space is that it will serve as a place where undergraduates can share their thoughts and ideas with peers and faculty mentors,” Graziani said. “Most of all, I envision it as a place where they can come together to relax, study and make lasting memories.”
Upon graduating from Penn State, Graziani, a native of Bethel Park, obtained his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and embarked on a successful career in the chemical engineering industry.
He was employed by Mobil Technology Company, which later merged with Exxon to become ExxonMobil Research, for over 35 years. During his tenure he held a variety of executive positions in the development and support of refinery technology, some of which included: lube and crude oil technology manager; fuels and lube refining division manager; process technology program manager; and senior research advisor.
Despite balancing a demanding career and raising a family, Graziani never lost ties with his alma mater. He often checked in with the department and volunteered his time toward the department’s programs and initiatives when possible.
In 2009, Graziani retired from ExxonMobil and became eager to refocus a portion his time supporting the College of Engineering. Over the last six years, he’s been an active member of the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society and the Penn State Chemical Engineering Alumni Group, where he currently serves as team lead. He has worked to enhance the chemical engineering department by assembling career panels, organizing student and alumni networking events and contributing to the department’s Schreyer Scholars academic award.
“Working with students is my passion,” Graziani said. “I am confident that the new building will provide the next generation of chemical engineering students with the resources necessary to reach their full potential and aspire to great heights—I am eager to see it come to fruition.”
The Grazianis’ gift will be used to advance the Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering Building Project.
“We are tremendously grateful for our dedicated alumni and the generosity, insight and service they chose to share with the department, said Phillip Savage, chemical engineering department head and Walter L. Robb Family Endowed Chair. “Support from the Grazianis’ has taken shape in numerous forms throughout the years and I am delighted to know that the next generation of students will benefit from their unwavering commitment.”
The total estimated cost of the building, set to open in 2019, is $150 million, $10 million of which must be raised by the College of Engineering. If you are interested in supporting the Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering Building Project, please visit the project’s website for more information and naming opportunities. Your support will help shape the foundation for the next exciting phase of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at Penn State.
Penn State’s alumni and friends are invaluable partners in fulfilling the University’s land-grant mission of education, research and service. Private gifts from alumni and friends enrich the experiences of students both in and out of the classroom; expand the research and teaching capacity of our faculty; enhance the University’s ability to recruit and retain top students and faculty; and help to ensure that students from every economic background have access to a Penn State education. The University’s colleges and campuses are now enlisting the support of alumni and friends to advance a range of unit-specific initiatives.