in Blacksburg, Virginia, has announced a $2 million gift from alumnus Nicholas Des Champs to establish a faculty chair in its .
The gift will create and endow the Nicholas and Rebecca Des Champs Chair in Mechanical Engineering and advance departmental priorities such as promoting graduate student success, scholarships, and boosting departmental rankings. Azim Eskandarian is the inaugural Des Champs Chair and directs the department that has seen the greatest enrollment growth in the College of Engineering over the past decade.
After earning a bachelor's degree (1962) and PhD (1967) in mechanical engineer, Des Champs enjoyed a successful career in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry. A longtime supporter of the university, he is a member of the Ut Prosim, 1872, and Pylon giving societies, serves on the Department of Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board, and is a member of the College of Engineering’s Committee of 100 and Academy of Engineering Excellence.
"We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Nick and Becky Des Champs," said Julia M. Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering. "The gift will certainly enhance the nationally ranked department as it pursues cutting-edge student and faculty research in focus areas like energy engineering and science, robotics and autonomous systems, additive manufacturing research, and nuclear engineering."