A Brief History of: The Miami University Paper Science and Engineering Foundation

The Miami University Paper Science and Engineering (PS&E) Foundation was founded in 1960 to provide support in the form of student scholarships, laboratory equipment and curricular advisement to the fledgling Miami University Pulp and Paper Technology Department (now the Chemical, Paper and Biomedical Engineering (CPB) Department), which had been founded three years earlier in 1957.

Established as a 501(c)3 nonprofit special purpose corporation, the PS&E Foundation structure includes a Board of Trustees comprised of three classes of seven members, each serving a three-year term. The Executive Committee of the Board maintains an engaged governance role over Foundation activities and there are eight standing committees: Academic, Audit, Endowment, Enrollment and Scholarship, Facilities, Finance, Membership, Nominating and Publicity. All officer and committee positions are staffed by a mix of volunteers and CPB Department faculty and staff. There are two paid positions: the Executive Director (which is part time) and the Assistant Director. Foundation offices are in the Engineering Building, housed within the CPB Department.

In addition to providing direct scholarship support to CPB, Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering students who minor in Paper Engineering, the PS&E Foundation carries out a number of advisory and guidance functions. Among these are curricular review and development, accreditation consulting, new student recruiting, internship, co-op and permanent job placement assistance, and laboratory facility and equipment enhancements.

Since its inception, the PS&E Foundation has awarded over $4.5 million in merit-based scholarships to Miami University paper engineering students. Approximately 40% of the Department’s 1300+ graduates have benefited from these scholarships. Foundation company members also typically provide summer internship and co-op opportunities for students which, when coupled together, can significantly underwrite a student’s education cost at Miami. Foundation members further benefit through increased exposure to graduating seniors, who make excellent entry level engineers for their organizations.

The Foundation currently has over 30 member companies whose annual contributions underwrite the cost of administering the scholarship and committee functions of the Foundation, and provide direct financial support to the CPB Department for special projects, participating in an international paper physics conference, and maintaining and updating the department’s paper laboratory facilities. Scholarship awards for the 2017-18 academic year exceeded $265,000.

A Brief History of: The Miami University Chemical, Paper and Biomedical Engineering Department

The Miami University Pulp and Paper Technology Department was founded in 1957. During the past 60 years, the department has grown from a small, two faculty member program to its current state of eleven full-time faculty members and a research assistant. In 2006 the department started the chemical engineering program and changed the name of the department to Chemical and Paper Engineering (CPE), and then in 2012 the name changed to Chemical, Paper and Biomedical Engineering (CPB) with the addition of the bioengineering curriculum. Over 1300 students have graduated from the program and taken up productive careers in the paper industry and its many allied industries.

The Miami CPB Department has always been a leader in program innovation. It was the first paper science department to start up a co-op program and the first paper science program to receive engineering accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The department also started up a pioneering international symposium focused on-line measurement and control that ran for 21 years and was widely copied by TAPPI and other organizations. The department established an international faculty exchange program with the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in the 1960s and a student exchange program with the Helsinki University of Technology in 2000. Most recently, in January of 2014, 2016, and 2018, Dr. Keller from CPB took around 20 Chemical Engineering and Engineering Management students, all of whom are minoring in Paper Engineering, to Austria for the Jan term. They toured paper mills, supplier facilities and technical schools. They saw the paper museum and witnessed papermaking technologies firsthand. It provides an incredible experience for the students who opt to go during the winter term. The plan is to repeat the program every other year. He plans on repeating the study abroad session during January of 2020. In 2016, the Process Control minor was initiated In response to needs expressed by member companies of the Foundation.

Miami’s Engineering Building was completed in 2007, and the CPB department moved from Gaskill Hall in that year. The move included a major upgrade of the pilot paper machine which involved many of the PS&E Foundation’s member companies. Named “RedHawk 2”, the paper machine is a teaching tool as well as a useful trial machine for contract research projects.

These initiatives support the department’s goal of continuing to be an important source of leadership talent for the pulp, paper and allied industries. There is continued high demand for entry level engineers who are familiar with the paper industry because many producers and suppliers alike are losing technical people due to retirement and normal attrition. Miami is well positioned to create value for highly trained engineering graduates who are capable and eager to assume technical leadership roles in the paper and allied industries.