Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- November 20, 2002

Nevada Industrialist Pledges $6 Million For Engineering Innovation Center at Cal Poly

The head of a Nevada-based corporation has pledged $6 million to establish the Donald E. Bently Center for Engineering Innovation in Cal Poly’s Mechanical Engineering Department.

The gift from Donald Bently, chief executive officer of the Bently Pressurized Bearing Co., will endow a director’s position and two faculty positions.

Bently said the quality of Cal Poly students and professors is the root of his support for the university.

“Bently Nevada has hired a number of Cal Poly-educated employees and hosted student interns as well,” he said, “and I’ve found those individuals to be of the highest quality and extremely well-rounded.

“I also believe it’s very important to endow outstanding faculty,” he added. “And I’ve been extremely impressed with the way the Mechanical Engineering Department has utilized the rotor dynamics technology we have provided.”

The relationship between Cal Poly and Bently began five years ago, when Bently’s former company, the Bently Nevada Corp., joined in sponsoring the Solar Turbines/Bently Nevada Vibrations and Rotor Dynamics Laboratory at Cal Poly. Bently also provided funds to establish the Bently Nevada Computational Facility at the university and later added to that lab by donating $80,000 to buy 19 high-end workstations.

In thanking Bently for his latest gift, Cal Poly President Warren Baker said, “With your gift, you are providing enormous opportunities for success to the faculty members and students involved in the Bently Center. Your generosity will truly change the face of engineering education and research in the Mechanical Engineering Department.”

Mechanical Engineering Professor Jim Meagher has been named the first director of the Bently Center.

“Don’s gift will profoundly impact our program at every level,” Meagher said. “The endowment will help us attract the best faculty members in the nation and provide resources to help keep them at the cutting edge of their fields. It will also result in lab development as a natural outcome of applied research.”

Dean of Engineering Peter Lee said, “The Donald E. Bently Center will certainly stand as a cornerstone of our vital learn-by-doing model of engineering education. We are indebted to Don for his investment in the spirit of innovation within the college.”

Bently recently retired as chairman and CEO of Bently Nevada, a company that annually sells $200 million worth of products and services for assessing and ensuring the mechanical and thermodynamic stability of industrial equipment. Located in Minden, Nev., the company was bought early this year by GE Power Systems. Bently retained ownership of the research division.

For more information about the Bently Center, call Meagher at (805) 756-1115.
Media Contact: Amy Hewes (805) 756-6402

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