CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University alumni Mike and Judy Gaulke have committed $3.5 million to create the Michael and Judith Gaulke Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at OSU.

This endowed faculty fund will be the largest to date for the College of Engineering and the first in its School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

"Life has been kind to us, and when Judy and I were reflecting on how we should share our resources, we thought about the institutions that have been meaningful in our lives. OSU is one," said Mike Gaulke, a recently retired Silicon Valley CEO. "We hope this gift will establish a foundation for future gifts from other alumni, helping the school to continue building its international reputation."

The inaugural holder of the chair will be OSU electrical engineering professor John Wager, an award-winning teacher and researcher. Wager is internationally recognized for his leading role in the development of transparent electronics, a technology that is being incorporated into the iPad3™.

The Gaulkes' gift leverages the OSU Provost's Faculty Match Program, which provides an additional $450,000 over five years for the College of Engineering. With this gift and matching funds, the school plans to add an additional faculty position focused on sensor technology research and teaching.

"This leadership gift from Michael and Judith Gaulke gives OSU a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty," said OSU President Ed Ray.

"Universities compete not only with one another, but also with business and industry to attract the best and brightest educators and researchers," Ray said. "With their generosity and vision, the Gaulkes will benefit Oregon State's School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and its students for generations." 

The Gaulkes live in Atherton, Calif., but both grew up in Hood River, Ore. They graduated from OSU, Mike from the College of Engineering in 1968 and Judy, formerly Judy Mellenthin, from the home economics program in 1965. Judy worked as a Pan American international flight attendant, a Sunset Magazine cookbook editor, and as a food stylist before becoming a fulltime artist.

Mike became a successful engineering executive. He spent 18 years at Exponent, Inc., a leading engineering and consulting firm that performs in-depth investigations in more than 90 technical disciplines to analyze accidents and failures, and determine their causes. He retired in 2009 as CEO of Exponent but still serves as chairman of the board. He also serves on the board of directors of Cymer, a semiconductor equipment manufacturer; on the boards of California healthcare providers Sutter Health and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation; and in 2008 was inducted into OSU's Engineering Hall of Fame.

"We are so fortunate to have Judy and Mike as alumni, friends and supporters," said Terri Fiez, professor and head of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. "This type of support is what helps us transform our educational and research opportunities for faculty and students."

The Michael and Judith Gaulke Chair in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is the 61st endowed position fund created during The Campaign for OSU, and the 108th at OSU.

Guided by OSU's strategic plan, the campaign has raised more than $840 million of its $1 billion goal, including nearly $90 million in faculty support, to provide opportunities for students, strengthen Oregon communities and conduct research that changes the world.

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Terri Fiez, 541-737-3118