Oregon Tech announces $2 million donation from Wendt Family for new engineering complex in Klamath Falls

Jun 25, 2018
The Wendt Family is known for their generosity to Oregon Tech, funding numerous initiatives over the years, including student scholarships, athletic endeavors, and the Martha Anne Dow Center for Health Professions.

Capital Project Request_Oregon TechThe Wendt Family, longtime supporters of the Oregon Institute of Technology (“Oregon Tech”), has made a $2 million gift to the Oregon Tech Foundation toward the construction of the Center for Excellence in Engineering and Technology (CEET), a primary goal of the Campaign for the Future of Oregon Tech.

The Wendt Family is known for their generosity to Oregon Tech, funding numerous initiatives over the years, including student scholarships, athletic endeavors, and the Martha Anne Dow Center for Health Professions.

“The Wendts are ironclad in their support for the Klamath Falls region, and inspiring in their vision to help create a better future for Oregon Tech and its students,” said Dee Thompson, president of the Oregon Tech Foundation.

Oregon Tech president, Dr. Nagi Naganathan, announced the landmark gift May 18 during his investiture as the seventh president of Oregon Tech, for which Nancy Wendt was the Honorary Chair. In attendance to celebrate the occasion were members of the Wendt Family including Nancy Wendt, Mark Wendt and his wife Karen Lynch, and Rod Wendt and his wife Carol.

President Naganathan said during the investiture, “I must recognize Mrs. Nancy Wendt and her late husband Mr. Dick Wendt, who have not only created doors and windows through JELD-WEN, they have opened doors and windows of opportunity for Oregon Tech and our students with their continued generosity. Mrs. Wendt, I know that you and your family never wish to put yourselves in the spotlight, and always give without needing acknowledgement. But I cannot let today pass without my sincerest thank you. This is a transformative investment.”

The gift helps Oregon Tech fulfill the State of Oregon’s matching requirement for receiving the $40 million in bonding authority for the construction of CEET. “Thanks to their generous commitment,” noted President Naganathan, “we are able to accelerate and expand our Campaign for the Future of Oregon Tech. This $4 million foundational campaign will support new programs, new equipment and new technology that will directly benefit student access and outcomes, and excellence in faculty teaching environments.”

Wendt Family 2018Rod Wendt, vice chairman of JELD-WEN, spoke about what motivated his family to make the gift. “What got us excited about the Center for Excellence in Engineering and Technology is the way in which it will lead directly to increased opportunities for students, faculty and industry partners alike. CEET will be a key instrument in Oregon Tech’s mission to create a clear pathway for students from education to professional success – and in the process will bring new avenues for partnerships with industry and local organizations. The whole region benefits.”

The CEET will be integrated with a comprehensively renovated Cornett Hall, currently underway, to form the new Engineering Complex at Oregon Tech. “By creating an innovation ecosystem where students, industry and community come together in generating solutions for the future, the Engineering Complex will transform the student experience and prepare graduates for an even higher level of professional success,” added Dr. Naganathan. The total investment in the Engineering Complex is $53.8 million.

Thanks to the Wendt Family’s donation, the Campaign for the Future of Oregon Tech will now be able to increase its focus on funds and programs that offer significant advantages to students university-wide. These include the Student and Faculty Innovation Fund, the Fiscal Literacy Program, the Equipment & Technology Fund, and the Rural Innovation & Entrepreneurial Fund.

“When companies think of innovation,” President Naganathan added, “we want to have the type of footprint that makes them naturally walk toward Oregon Tech. This Wendt Family gift is a game-changer. With their help, Oregon Tech takes a significant step forward in its mission toward becoming ‘industry’s university’, committed to creating an innovation ecosystem that is a surrogate lab for industries.”

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