Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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Giving to the Department - Dollars at Work

Every Gift & Every Dollar Counts

The financial support of alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends is making an impact in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics (AEM)  at the University of Minnesota.

Each gift makes a difference. Students are benefiting from scholarships and financial aid, award-winning faculty members are making groundbreaking discoveries, and cutting-edge facilities are helping foster AEM’s innovative environment.

The following are examples of how these gifts are used:




Student Support
AEM Career Panel





A number of students receive financial assistance to help them complete their degrees. Undergraduate students in our department benefit from the support provided by scholarships such as the Chester Gaskell Aeronautical Engineering Scholarship and the Robert H. and Marjorie F. Jewett Scholarship. Support for our graduate students includes the generous support provided by fellowships such as the John D. Akerman Fellowship and the Kenneth G. and Rosemary R. Anderson Fellowship.

Other funds, like the AEM Program Initiatives support the annual career networking event for undergraduate students.

Student Scholarships and Fellowship Recipients

Endowed Academic PositionsSchwartzCandler

The Russell J. Penrose Professorship is specific to the Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics Department and was established in 1990. This prestigious faculty position allows the Department to retain top faculty from around the world to continue their teaching and research at our institution.

Our current Russell J. Penrose Professor is Graham Candler.
Our current Russell J. Penrose Faculty Fellow is Thomas Schwartzentruber.

Past Russell J. Penrose Professors include Richard James and Daniel Joseph.
Our past Russell J. Penrose Faculty Fellow was Ryan Elliott.

Student Competitions and Trips

Student Competition Team




Alumni gifts and support enable students to attend aerospace trips and competitions around the country. These experiences enrich our students' learning and give them real-world applications where they can apply their knowledge. Some recent competitions and events students have participated in include the SAE Aero Design West Competition , the CanSat Competition, NASA’s RASC-AL Design competition, and the Spaceport America Cup. See more info about some recent student competitions and trips.

John D. Akerman Professorship

Senior Design Team

Gifts to the Department allowed the work of the John D. Akerman Professor of Design who worked with our capstone senior design course. Students study selected design issues such as building a l/5th scale radio controlled model and other projects and use Pro/ENGINEER and NC machining in fabricating their models.

Previously supported projects

Gary J. Balas Atrium

Gary J. Balas Atrium

Generous alumni contributions helped us in our $2.5 M renovation of the Gary J. Balas Atrium, formerly the Akerman Hall Hangar, which was part of a $5.3 M project to upgrade the fire/life/safety systems in Akerman Hall and the old Mechanical Engineering buildings. The renovation returned the hangar to its original layout by removing the temporary laboratories, added in 1985, and hallway from the driveway to Akerman Hall. The first and mezzanine (second) floors for the hangar are completely repurposed to provide flexible light industrial research labs, office and collaborative space for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students. Alumni contributions continue to help us maintain this renovated space as well as provide support for future improvements.

See more about the renovation here.

The Aeronautical Class of 1943 Wind Tunnel Fund

Wind Tunnel

This fund was very instrumental for improvements to our wind tunnel facilities. In fact, we were able to replace the 50-year old 100-horsepower electric motor and also incorporte a frequency inventer enabling us to control the motor speed for more efficient wind tunnel operation. See arrival of the new wind tunnel in 1994.

Last Modified: 2017-10-30 at 10:54:06 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation