Alumnus helps the dean think big
Charles Phipps

Charles H. Phipps with his daughter Anne

Tech visionary Charles Phipps, ’49, commits $5 million to endow the deanship and launch new ideas

Thanks to computer science pioneer Charles Phipps, CIT ’49, Dean Venkataramanan Balakrishnan has new resources at his fingertips. Phipps, the former director of strategy at Texas Instruments, committed $5 million to the Case School of Engineering to create a fund the dean can tap for research and big ideas.

“This support is incredibly helpful to the school and I am so grateful to Mr. Phipps for his generosity,” said Dean BalakrishnanDean Ragu, who henceforth will be known as the Charles H. Phipps Dean at the Case School of Engineering.

The endowment allows him to draw annually from the fund for research opportunities, strategic initiatives and transformative ideas.

Phipps, who is 92 and lives in Dallas, came to Case Institute of Technology after his service in the U.S. Army during World War II. He earned a degree in electrical engineering in 1949 and never forgot the experience.

“Case at that time was just right for me, in part because of the small class sizes and easy rapport with professors, as I came from a small town and would have been lost at a larger university,” Phipps told The Daily. “But the university also had a strong interplay between engineering and science, and with that and social and other activities, I had a sense of accomplishment by my senior year and initial confidence for trying new uncharted challenges.”

Charles PhippsHis career took him to Texas Instruments in the late 1950s, just as the company was developing integrated circuits and semi-conductors for new markets. He worked at Texas Instruments for 30 years, becoming the director of strategy.

The recent endowment is Phipps’ third major gift to Case. In 2005, he and his brother, John B. Phipps—who attended Case with his brother—created the Myron Phipps Dean’s Discretionary Fund in memory of their father. That fund helped launch the Case School of Engineering’s Great Lakes Energy Institute in 2008.

In 2011, Phipps’ $2 million commitment created the Phipps Endowment Fund, which supports the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and honors his late wife, Mary Claire Aschenbrener Phipps.

 Charles Phipps, standing left, with engineers at Texas Instruments in early 1960s.

The latest gift will help the dean in his desire to offer more experiential learning.

“We already have begun laying the groundwork for a new first-year experience for all engineering students in order to teach them engineering fundamentals through a series of hands-on labs,” the dean old The Daily.

“In addition, we’re enhancing our research program so that we can expand the interdisciplinary research we’re able to conduct while also growing our PhD program,” he said. “Neither of these efforts would be possible without Mr. Phipps’ support.”