PULLMAN, Wash. – An engineering alumnus who received help from professors to complete his education is giving back by creating a professorship. And, somewhat uniquely, the donor will have the chance to know the professor and witness the life-changing potential of his or her research advances.
 
Paul Hohenschuh (’64 B.S., ’70 M.S.) grew up in Washougal in rural southwestern Washington. He came to WSU with support of a scholarship.
 
He was overwhelmed by the rigorous program in chemical engineering, as well as continual financial stress. Two professors – George Austin, department chair, and Harry Stern – were particularly instrumental at critical times in helping him continue his education.
 
Hohenschuh, now retired, went on to become vice president of manufacturing at Genentech, a leading biotechnology/pharmaceutical company.
 
He and Marjorie Winkler recently created the Paul Hohenschuh Distinguished Professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. It will recruit and/or retain a world-class, internationally recognized faculty member, providing annual funding for materials, equipment, staff, graduate student salaries or other support that furthers his or her research program.
 
WSU Professor Cornelius (Neil) Ivory has been named as the inaugural Hohenschuh professor. Among other projects, he is working with collaborators to develop a blood test that could be used in a physician’s office to quickly and simply identify protein biomarkers that indicate if a patient is at risk of suffering a heart attack.
 
He has worked with pharmaceutical companies to develop ways to better detect impurities in commercial pharmaceuticals. He also is applying his technologies to enable purification and detection of specific radioactive isotopes that have implications for national defense.
 
While most chairs and professorships typically have come from an endowment established in a deceased donor’s estate plan, a new annual gift mechanism allows a donor to fund faculty and students immediately, said Don Shearer, associate director of development for the Voiland School. In so doing, the donor is able to immediately see the gift’s impact.
 
This unique gift mechanism allows the donor to commit a specific amount for a set period of years to support a faculty position or a scholarship.
 
“We are grateful to Paul and Marjorie for their investment in the faculty of this school,’’ said Jim Petersen, director of the school. “In so doing, they’re showing how much they care about and support the school’s mission.
 
“They will truly make a difference in the lives of both chemical engineering and bioengineering students,’’ he said.