University celebrates passing $1.5 billion campaign goal, $20 million gift to biomedical engineering

President Barbara R. Snyder announcing the university surpassed its $1.5 billion campaign goal, alongside (from left) Board of Trustees Chair Jim Wyant, trustee Tim Callahan and Forward Thinking Campaign Chair Frank Linsalata

Buoyed by commitments from nearly 55,000 donors and philanthropic organizations, Case Western Reserve has surpassed its expanded $1.5 billion capital campaign goal.

The historic achievement also marked the second time in three years that the university exceeded a campaign endpoint well ahead of schedule.

President Barbara R. Snyder announced the achievement Thursday evening after a celebration kicking off the university’s homecoming weekend. During the event, she also announced that one alumnus and his wife have been so moved by the achievements of the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering that they have committed $20 million to support its efforts.

Bob Aiken, a 1952 graduate majoring in mechanical engineering, and his wife, Brenda, originally made a gift to support undergraduate scholarships in biomedical engineering. Over time they learned more about faculty members’ recent achievements—including allowing a paralyzed man to move his limb with his thoughts, and another with an amputated arm to be able to distinguish textures through his prosthetic hand.

“I was overwhelmed by seeing the artificial hand that can feel,” Brenda Aiken said in a video aired during the event. “It just blew my mind.”

The couple eventually decided that their contributions should be spent for biomedical engineering education and research, specifically for department priorities that the school dean and department chair determine.

Read more about the generous donors who helped Case Western Reserve surpass its campaign goal.