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TowerPinkster gift supports sustainability

Oct. 1, 2008

KALAMAZOO--A leading West Michigan firm is creating a new endowed scholarship that will support Western Michigan University students who want to pursue careers in environmental sustainability.

TowerPinkster, an architecture and engineering firm with offices in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, Mich., recently created the TowerPinkster Endowed Scholarship for mechanical and electrical engineering majors in WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

When fully funded, it is anticipated that at least one scholarship will be awarded annually to a full-time junior or senior enrolled in one of those majors who expresses an interest in environmental design and building.

As part of the new scholarship arrangement, recipients of the award will be designated "TowerPinkster Scholars" and be given an opportunity to apply for an internship with TowerPinkster.

"For a number of years, TowerPinkster has had an opportunity to work with Western Michigan University students as interns, and with WMU alumni as full-time employees," says Arnold Mikon, TowerPinkster president and chief executive officer. "This affiliation has contributed to our firm's success, and we are pleased to continue our partnership through the new endowed scholarship."

The creation of a scholarship for students in environmental design and building fits well with TowerPinkster's reputation as a leader in sustainable initiatives. Last year, the firms' downtown Kalamazoo office at 242 E. Michigan Ave. became the first facility in Southwest Michigan to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED-certified buildings meet green building and performance measures and are recognized as environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. One of the notable highlights of the TowerPinkster office building is that all of the power it uses is "Green-e" certified. Greene-e power provides electricity generated from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, small hydroelectric and biomass, which produce dramatically less air pollution.

The TowerPinkster Endowed Scholarship also serves as a new pride point in WMU's ongoing efforts to support environmental and energy alternatives.

Last spring, the University received the 2008 Environmental Award from the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce in recognition of three important initiatives: implementing sustainable design practices in new campus buildings, committing to major storm water management improvements throughout the main campus in Kalamazoo and developing a centralized energy usage control system.

Specifically, the University was lauded for using LEED principles in the construction of its Health and Human Services Building, Chemistry Building, and Richmond Center for Visual Arts, as well as in its recently completed renovation of Brown Hall.

For more information about the TowerPinkster Endowed Scholarship, contact Tracy Branson, WMU associate vice president for development, at tracy.branson@wmich.edu or (269) 387-8700.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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