A career rooted in interdisciplinary education inspires $1 million commitment to science and engineering building

Growing up in Akron in the 1940s and ’50s, Frank Linsalata and his older brother, Ralph, likely didn’t give much thought to words like “interdisciplinary.”

But at the school that would later become Case Western Reserve University, the two still developed the diverse skill sets that define the term—with Frank (CIT ‘63) studying mechanical engineering and Ralph (CIT ‘60) earning his degree in electrical engineering. 

Upon graduating from Case Institute of Technology, the brothers each added an MBA from Harvard to their resumés—and Frank went on to secure an integral role at Midland-Ross, a large public manufacturing conglomerate, headquartered in Cleveland.

“I was the first MBA Midland-Ross hired,” Frank Linsalata recalled. The interdisciplinary skills he acquired at CWRU and Harvard uniquely positioned him as a talented engineer with a sophisticated business pedigree. “They were intrigued by my engineering and business backgrounds—being able to speak to the technical and financial aspects of their business.” 

Linsalata went on to become the company’s vice president of finance at 31, and eventually left to start his own company, Linsalata Capital Partners.

Today, as the product of a multifaceted education, and as someone acutely aware of the competitive advantage a state-of the-art research facility will create for the university, Frank Linsalata and his wife, Jocelyne, have committed $1 million to Case Western Reserve University’s 189,000-square-foot Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building (ISEB) project. A century bond the university issued last year will allow the gift to be fully matched, increasing the couple’s impact to $2 million.

Together and individually, the Linsalatas have provided leadership and financial support to key initiatives and priorities at the university for more than 40 years—including student scholarships, presidential strategic initiatives and the Linsalata Alumni Center. Frank also served as chair of the university’s Forward Thinking capital campaign.

“Frank and Jocelyne Linsalata have long been extraordinary supporters of Case Western Reserve,” President Kaler said. “This gift powerfully demonstrates their recognition of the vital importance of  modern research space.”

As a trustee, Frank Linsalata served on the search committee that identified in 2021 Kaler as the university’s next leader. It was during that process that he experienced the new president’s focus and data-driven understanding of the impact of research—reflected in his past experience at the University of Minnesota and through his vision for capitalizing on the Case Western Reserve’s existing strategic advantages.

“We had talked about another engineering building for years—but President Kaler understands research and has advocated with urgency for space that meets the moment.

“My education has been a part of my success, and I want to see the university succeed as well,” said Linsalata. “To do that, we need collaboration in all areas—including engineering, medicine, biomed and more—in our quest to be a leader in research. That is why this project is so vitally important, and why Jocelyne and I are pleased to support it.”