WMU News

Paper Technology Foundation announces capital campaign

March 26, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- The Paper Technology Foundation at Western Michigan University will launch the public portion of PTF 2000, a five-year, $5.75 million capital campaign, during a noon luncheon Thursday, March 26, on campus in the Fetzer Center.

The luncheon will take place in conjunction with the foundation's spring board of trustees meeting. It will feature a presentation by C. Wesley Smith, executive vice president of International Paper Co. in Purchase, N.Y., who is campaign chairman. International is the world's largest paper company.

Also on hand will be executives from other leading U.S. pulp and paper companies and from allied suppliers; WMU administrators; faculty members from the Department of Paper and Printing Science and Engineering; and A. Richard Wagner, president of the Paper Technology Foundation and vice president of the E.B. Eddy Paper Co. in Port Huron.

"We began PTF 2000 in July 1995, and we're extremely pleased with how well it's been received," Wagner said.

"Gifts amounting to more than one-half of the goal already have been donated or pledged by alumni, corporations, foundations and friends," he said. "I'm confident we'll be at or above the goal when this critical fund-raising effort concludes in June 2000."

Many of the leadership gifts support student scholarships and equipment upgrades. They include these gifts, totaling $1.8 million:

The Paper Technology Foundation was established in 1958. It supports and enhances the paper programs offered by WMU's Department of Paper and Printing Science and Engineering. In addition, it helps recruit and financially assist young men and women who wish to pursue careers in the pulp and paper industry.

John A. Ferguson, foundation executive director, said the foundation accomplishes that mission through capital campaigns, endowment earnings and more than $250,000 in annual gifts from its 72 corporate members and 300 individual members. In addition, foundation donors contribute periodically through grants, memorial funds, named endowment funds and named scholarship funds.

"The current campaign marks the initial step in implementing an ambitious long-range plan for the paper and printing department," Ferguson said. "The plan represents a visionary investment over the next 15 years that will solidify the department's international reputation as an academic and technical center of excellence."

Guiding PTF 2000 along with Smith is campaign vice chairman John T. Bales, vice president of the Beloit Corp. in Deerfield, Ill.

Also instrumental in the fund-raising effort are campaign committee members William J. Fondow, president of Thermo Black Clawson in Middletown, Ohio; Homer G. Bogart, president of Paper Marketing Group Inc. in Goose Creek, S.C.; and Stanley L. Oakleaf, sales representative of the Appleton wire division of Albany International in Kalamazoo. In addition, the Paper Technology Foundation Board of Trustees and many alumni and friends of WMU's paper programs have volunteered to assist the committee.

"We're committed to helping the Department of Paper and Printing Science and Engineering implement its long-range plan because it will ensure excellence in teaching well into the next century," Smith said. "By focusing on the capital campaign, we'll be assisting the department by addressing pressing needs in three key areas: undergraduate education; facilities and equipment; and faculty support and research."

Specifically, Smith said, PTF 2000 seeks to raise $3 million for student scholarships, $1.7 million for equipment upgrades, $750,000 for program development and $50,000 to create a seed fund for research. The balance will be used to establish a special needs fund.

Ferguson noted that increasing funding for student scholarships is a major area of emphasis for the capital campaign.

"With a current endowment around $2.9 million, the foundation is meeting only about half of its scholarship needs," he explained. "A substantial increase in the endowment will allow us to remain competitive in attracting excellent students as educational costs rise."

Maintaining state-of-the-art equipment in modern facilities also is essential, Ferguson continued.

"One of the traditional strengths of WMU's graduating students is that they are knowledgeable about the latest technical advances in the industry," he said. "To continue this tradition, we need to upgrade our Paper Pilot Plant facilities and replace old equipment in a timely fashion."

Two of the campaign's other three objectives are a natural outgrowth of the Paper Technology Foundation's emphasis on building partnerships that support teaching and research, Ferguson said.

"Strengthening funding for program development is extremely important," he said. "Doing so mean that we'll be able to bring more industry professionals to campus so they can teach and work with students and faculty on special projects. We'll also be able to use distance learning technology to start offering much-needed certificate and degree programs worldwide.

"Meanwhile, the research seed fund will let us attract grants and contracts that depend upon the availability of a relatively small amount of matching funds," he said.

Ferguson said the final campaign objective, establishing a special needs fund, will make it possible to respond quickly to new challenges and opportunities. It will be used for projects ranging from enhancing the curriculum to taking advantage of unexpected opportunities to purchase needed equipment.

"Unquestionably, WMU provides some of the best paper programs and facilities in the world today," Ferguson said. "Through PTF 2000, we're ensuring that the University will continue to be a key player for years to come. At the same time, we'll be able to continue providing relevant training for our students and superior research and development services for our industry clients."

The Department of Paper and Printing Science and Engineering offers a master of science degree in paper science and engineering and, beginning this fall, will offer a doctor of philosophy degree in paper and imaging science and engineering.

At the undergraduate level, the department offers three paper-related majors. They include a bachelor of science degree in paper science or chemistry and a bachelor of science degree in process engineering or environmental engineering.

A bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering allows specialization in paper and pulping or inks and imaging, the only such degree of its kind in the United States.

Department alumni are represented in technical, sales and management positions at paper mills, printing companies and allied suppliers across the country and around the globe. In fact, paper program graduates from WMU enjoy a 100 percent placement rate.

That success is due in part to exceptional facilities. WMU is the only higher education institution in the world to have both a Paper Pilot Plant and a Printing Pilot Plant on one campus. Together, they allow students to obtain realistic production experience in all areas of papermaking, from pulping to printing.

The University's paper programs also are distinguished by industry involvement. Not only does the Paper Technology Foundation's roster of corporate members increase each year, but its 33-member board of trustees is comprised solely of industry representatives. In addition, the foundation is continuously expanding its joint training and research programs with leading industry organizations, such as the Institute for Paper Science and Technology, Paper Industry Management Association and Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry.

ABB Industrial Systems, Columbus, Ohio -- ABB has made a $500,000 in-kind donation of a customized, state-of-the-art control system for the papermaking machine in WMU's Paper Pilot Plant. The gift includes training on the system for plant personnel. Charles Rowland, vice president of the pulp and paper division at ABB, said the company rarely makes such large gifts. Rowland said it made an exception in WMU's case largely because the U.S. paper industry must maintain its technology edge if it is to stay competitive in the global marketplace.

"Universities like WMU provide the people who help us maintain that edge," he said. "But we won't continue to have this advantage if students don't have the right learning tools. Our job is to prepare them to step in and lead."

Beloit Corp., Deerfield, Ill. -- Beloit has donated $500,000 to help rebuild key components of the papermaking machine and system in WMU's Paper Pilot Plant. The first phase, to be completed in 1998, is the installation of a metering size press. "In our industry, technological change is the norm," Mark E. Readinger, president of Beloit, said. "We're pleased to be able to help WMU remain on the cutting edge so that students are trained on the best equipment available."

International Paper Co., Purchase, N.Y. -- International has donated $300,000 to endow the International Paper Co. Scholarship. "The pulp and paper industry needs to continue to support students, professors and programs to ensure that sufficient numbers of quality graduates are primed to play leadership roles in the future," said C. Wesley Smith, executive vice president of International Paper.

Mead Corp., Dayton, Ohio -- Mead has donated $300,000 to enhance the Mead Corp. Endowed Scholarship. "This donation reflects our continued support of WMU's world-class paper programs," said Gary L. Butryn, president of Mead's publishing paper division in Escanaba. "It also reflects our industry's ongoing need to work closely with higher education so that today's students are prepared for tomorrow's technological challenges."

Champion International Corp., Stamford, Conn. -- Champion International has donated $100,000 to create the Champion International Corp. Endowed Scholarship. The company's long history with WMU made the large gift an easy decision, said Eileen McSweeney, director of contributions for the company.

"Over the years, we've benefited greatly from the quality of students we've recruited at WMU," McSweeney said. "They arrive at Champion knowing the industry, are well versed in their own disciplines and are ready to contribute. Investing in students at this critical point in their careers ultimately benefits not only Champion, but the whole industry."

Georgia-Pacific Corp., Atlanta, Ga. -- Georgia-Pacific has donated $100,000 to create the Georgia-Pacific Endowed Scholarship. The gift is an extension of our corporate philosophy, said C. Richard Larrick, general manager of the company's Kalamazoo mill, who will announce the gift at the March 26 luncheon.

Curley M. Dossman Jr., president of the Georgia-Pacific Foundation, explained that the foundation considers education to be the cornerstone to the future of American prosperity. "We believe that investing in the training and preparation of young men and women in communities where Georgia-Pacific has facilities is directly linked to the future prosperity and well-being of those communities," Dossman said.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron; jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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