Date:  April 8, 2014


Peter O'Donnell Jr. Gives $500,000 to Charles M. Vest President's Opportunity Fund


WASHINGTON -- The National Academy of Engineering announced today that Peter O'Donnell Jr. -- a long-time supporter of engineering, science, and math education -- has made a gift of $500,000 to the Charles M. Vest President's Opportunity Fund.  The fund was established by NAE members and friends of Vest, president of the NAE from 2007 to 2013, to honor his legacy and to support exploratory studies, new initiatives, and existing strategic programs at the Academy.  Vest passed away last December. 


"Chuck was an extraordinary academic and engineer, impressive president of MIT, very able president of the National Academy of Engineering, and a man of excellent character -- he is very much missed," Mr. O'Donnell said.  "With this gift, I wanted to honor his important contributions to math, science, engineering education, and policy." 


Peter O'Donnell and his wife Edith founded the O'Donnell Foundation in 1958.  Based in Dallas, it has developed and funded model programs such as the Advanced Placement Incentive Program and National Math and Science Initiative to strengthen engineering and science education and scientific research in the 21st century.    


In addition, Mr. O'Donnell, along with former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, was instrumental in founding The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas.  Among his many national contributions, he served on the committee that authored the National Academies report Rising Above the Gathering Storm, funded the first three years of NAE's Frontiers of Engineering Education, and supported the 2008 National Science Foundation-Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences Simulation-Based Science and Engineering Conference in Washington, D.C.  The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Mr. O'Donnell was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received a doctor of humane letters from Southern Methodist University.


"Peter O'Donnell's generous gift in tribute to former president Charles M. Vest will support NAE projects that will advance engineering solutions to many of society's greatest challenges," said National Academy of Engineering President C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr.


The mission of the National Academy of Engineering is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.  NAE celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.




Molly Galvin, Senior Media Relations Officer

Chelsea Dickson, Media Relations Assistant

Office of News and Public Information

202-334-2138; e-mail

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