Campus news in brief

Carnegie Mellon announces Jay Whitacre appointed new director of Scott Institute

Effective May 1, Jay F. Whitacre will assume the role of director of the Wilson E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. He will succeed University President-Emeritus and professor of Engineering and Public Policy and Civil and Environmental Engineering Jared L. Cohon as director of the program. Currently, Whitacre has a joint appointment in the departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy.

After earning his Ph.D. in Materials Science at the University of Michigan in 1999, he served for seven years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a senior member of the technical staff. Then in 2007, Whitacre joined Carnegie Mellon as an assistant professor, and recently attained the distinction of full professor in 2015. His research focuses on materials and their capacity for energy storage, and in 2009, his lab developed a unique battery design with non-toxic and non-flammable chemicals that would become Aquion Energy, a business that Whitacre founded.

In 2014, Whitacre was awarded the Caltech/Resnick Sustainability Institute Resonate Award, and in 2014 Fortune Magazine named him one of the world’s top 25 eco-innovators. Additionally, Whitacre won the the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for Innovation for developing a low-cost, mass-producible battery with minimal environmental impact.

According the university press release, Whitacre’s appointment marks the beginning of a new era for the Scott Institute. The intitute plans to implement goals devised under President Cohon’s leadership, placing a larger emphasis on creating corporate and community relationships.

The Scott Institute was founded in 2012 after a generous donation from Sherman Scott (CIT ‘66), president and founder of Delmar Systems, and his wife, Joyce Bowie Scott (CFA ‘65), a university trustee.

School of Music receives record-breaking $5 million gift from late alumnus Buncher

Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music has recently received its largest gift since it was founded 105 years ago.

The $5 million gift, given by the late Jack G. Buncher’s foundations, is set to establish the Jack G. Buncher Chair for the the head of the school. Buncher was recognized for his philanthropy and business achievements in the Pittsburgh area. This chair will help the school to attract and retain scholars to lead its programs. This program is the first of its kind for the School of Music.

The gift was supported by Bernita Buncher, daughter of Jack G. Buncher, and is funded by both the Jack Buncher Foundation and the Jack G. Buncher Charitable Fund for Carnegie Mellon University. “Carnegie Mellon is a jewel in the crown of Pittsburgh,” Buncher said in a recent press release. College of Fine Arts Dean Dan Martin expressed the School of Music’s deep gratitude to Buncher for “her commitment to Carnegie Mellon and to Pittsburgh” and stated that “this historic gift will provide the head of the School of Music with the resources to advance our world-renowned program.” Buncher has long been a supporter of classical music and serves as a trustee of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

There will be a formal ceremony in the fall to celebrate the gift and install the head of the School of Music.