May 23, 2000
Contact: John Scarffe, KU Endowment Association, (785) 832-7336.
LAWRENCE--A Fortune 500 executive and his wife have provided $276,000 to establish a graduate teaching assistantship for aerospace engineering students at the University of Kansas, Dean Carl E. Locke Jr. of the School of Engineering announced today.
Walter and Jayne Garrison of Rose Tree, Pa., established the Walter R. Garrison Graduate Teaching Assistantship in the Department of Aerospace Engineering through a gift of stock to the Kansas University Endowment Association. Garrison is a major shareholder and chairman of the board of CDI Corp., a Fortune 500, New York Stock Exchange company. The gift brings Garrison full circle to his own student days when he was a graduate teaching assistant in KU's aerospace program.
"Walt and Jayne Garrison have been very loyal supporters of the aerospace engineering department at KU," Locke said. "Creation of this endowment for support of graduate teaching assistants is another generous act. We are very grateful to them for their continued support."
Garrison earned an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from KU in 1948. Two years later, with his master's degree in hand, he left Lawrence for Seattle and a job as a stress engineer on the B-52 bomber with Boeing Co., formerly Boeing Aircraft Co. Garrison credited his chance to work as a KU graduate teaching assistant for both his first job opportunity and his solid foundation in aerospace engineering.
"The assistantship helped me to better understand the engineering principles I was teaching," he said.
The assistantship salary also made it possible for him to get his master's degree. "My master's placed me in a different echelon when I first entered Boeing's engineering department. That graduate teaching assistantship literally changed my future, and I would like to give others that same opportunity."
After several years with Boeing, Garrison set the course for what would become a successful career when he joined CDI in Philadelphia in 1956. In 1961, he and two partners bought the company, which now employs 33,000 people, including more than 14,000 engineers, CAD designers and technical support staff and more than 3,000 computer programmers, systems analysts and other information technology professionals. CDI provides engineering, technical, clerical and outsourcing services and management and executive recruitment services.
In 1996, the Eastern Technology Council, which has 800 member companies, named Garrison the Legend CEO of the Year. The award is given to people who have been CEOs for more than 25 years and made contributions to the profession and to civic and social organizations.
An active philanthropist, Garrison retired as president and CEO of CDI in 1997, but not from his longstanding involvement in educational and community service.
He continues as chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology, which he founded in 1953. A two-year technical college in Media, Pa., the college enrolls about 450 students and, each year gives full scholarships to almost 100 educationally and economically disadvantaged learners. For the past 26 years, the school has placed more than 94 percent of its available graduates in jobs in their areas of expertise.
For seven years, Walter Garrison also was a member of the advisory board for the Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. For 11 years, he was a member of the executive committee of the Industry Advisory Board of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He also served on the board of Spring Garden College in Chestnut Hill, Pa. In 1986, the college awarded him an honorary doctoral degree.
Garrison has received numerous awards for his community involvement. In 1998, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia honored Garrison with the Atlas Award for his community service, and in 1995, he earned the Good Scout Award from the Philadelphia Council of Boy Scouts of America for his generosity and leadership. Camp Garrison, which will open this spring, is designed to teach young boys to pattern their lives after the principles of scouting.
KU's School of Engineering honored Garrison's professional achievements in 1990 by giving him the Distinguished Engineering Service Award for his outstanding contributions to the engineering profession and society. Garrison is a registered professional engineer in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida and Illinois.
Through their support for the School of Engineering, Walter and Jayne Garrison are lifetime members of the Chancellors Club, KU Endowment's major-donor organization. The Garrisons say they enjoy supporting philanthropic activities, playing golf, traveling and "parenting and grandparenting" their seven children and 16 grandchildren.
Their gift will be administered by KU Endowment, an independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fund-raising and fund-management foundation for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the oldest foundation of its kind at a public university in the United States and one of the largest.