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Timely gift promotes health-related research
Charles S. Strauch ’57, a long-time supporter of Lehigh, received the LUAA Alumni Award earlier this year.

Charles S. Strauch ’57, ’15GP, who helped establish Lehigh's award-winning Integrated Product Development (IPD) program, recently made a generous gift to the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science (RCEAS).

Strauch, a member of Lehigh’s Engineering Advisory Council, and his wife, Nan, have committed $1 million to support the engineering college’s Facilities Renewal Initiative and the further development of Lehigh’s integrated educational programs.

A portion of the Strauchs’ gift will help fund the creation of the new Health Research Hub (HRH) in Iacocca Hall, which will serve as a collaborative environment for Lehigh researchers and will also promote cross-disciplinary innovation in bioengineering.

S. David Wu, RCEAS dean and Iacocca Professor, said the establishment of the HRH, together with the Strauchs’ support, will improve Lehigh’s ability to address the grand challenge of health and healthcare, an integral part of Lehigh’s strategic plan.

“This gift is a critical investment in Lehigh’s research portfolio,” said Wu. “Cutting-edge facilities such as the HRH allow us to recruit leading faculty capable of integrating research and teaching in an impactful way. Students, faculty, and staff will work together to explore solutions to some of the most important challenges facing society.”

Major renovation to the space has begun, and the new research hub is expected to be completed by late spring 2013.

The Strauchs also intend to support Lehigh’s integrated programs, which draw engineering closer to related pursuits in areas such as business, medicine, law, and the arts. These programs, said Wu, enroll one out of four Lehigh engineering students and help prepare them to fill a vital role in the emerging global workplace.

“Over the years,” he said, “the value of a Lehigh education has been founded upon our legacy of producing well-rounded problem solvers. These programs build upon that proud heritage and help us shape tomorrow’s leaders and innovators.”

In Lehigh’s IPD program, which was launched in 1994, juniors, seniors and graduate students in engineering, business and the design arts work in teams with industrial sponsors to design and make new products. IPD student teams have won more than 20 grants from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. The program has been lauded by The New York Times and U.S. News and World Report. In 2006, John Ochs, professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics, who helped found the IPD program, received NCIIA’s Olympus Innovation Award for promoting and demonstrating innovative thinking in education.

The Strauchs have been steadfast advocates of the engineering college. Charles Strauch graduated from Lehigh with a B.S. in industrial engineering and has served on the Engineering Advisory Council since 2008.

A long-time philanthropic supporter of Lehigh, Strauch has invested in many areas of the university and was recognized for his service to the university earlier this year when he received the LUAA Alumni Award. He led the fundraising efforts for the renovations to the Wilbur Powerhouse, which serves as a home to innovative student project teams for the IPD and other integrated programs.

Last April, the Strauchs sponsored a campus visit from 700 second graders and 200 teachers and parents of New York City’s Success Academy Charter Schools, part of a program intended to instill in young students an interest in attending college.