The has received a $20 million gift to transform its into a school of engineering, reports.
The gift from philanthropist Darlene Shiley — the widow of Donald Shiley, inventor of the life-saving Bjork-Shiley heart valve — will enable the university to hire a dean, support workers, make long-term improvements to classroom and research space, and offer engineering scholarships. Enrollment in the USD engineering program, which offers bachelor's degrees in electrical, mechanical, and industrial and systems engineering, has tripled since 2004, in line with trends at other universities in the region. The university has no immediate plans, however, to introduce a doctoral program or significantly increase undergraduate enrollment.
With this latest gift, the Shileys, who had already given $13.5 million to the university to establish the and for theater renovations and the Masters in Fine Arts program, become the second-most generous benefactors in the school's history.
"I'm doing this because my late husband, Donald, was, at his core, an engineer whose work helped save the lives of four hundred thousand people. I'd like to see USD turn out one or two engineers like him," said Shiley. "I really like the engineering department at USD. It's ranked twenty-fifth in the nation, and lots of military veterans are enrolled in the program. And the university has been good in working with donors."