The naming of the school honors the Voilands for a $17.5 million commitment to the School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, as well as their long-time support of the College of Engineering and Architecture and Washington State University.
“We are so thankful to Gene and Linda Voiland for their generous gift,” said WSU President Elson S. Floyd. “It demonstrates their deep commitment to the success of Washington State University. The naming of the school in their honor brings considerable prestige to WSU while also providing lasting recognition of the Voiland’s support for our University. They are truly making a difference in the lives of many future students and helping us achieve our goal to become an outstanding land-grant research university.”
Gene Voiland received a BS in chemical engineering from WSU in 1969. He worked for Shell Oil Company for nearly 30 years in a variety of positions. There, he met his wife, Linda, a graduate of the University of Houston. He later became President and CEO of CalResources LLC and Aera Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil. He retired in 2007.
The Voilands have been active supporters of WSU for many years. Gene led the Investment Committee for the WSU Foundation and is a member of the Foundation’s Boards of Governors. He also serves on advisory boards for both the College of Engineering and Architecture and the School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. He received the Chemical Engineering Alumni Achievement Award in 1991, the WSU Alumni Achievement Award in 1999, and the WSU Foundation Outstanding Service Award in 2000.
“We greatly value the education I received at WSU and believe it laid the foundation for our success,” said Gene Voiland. “We hope this gift will continue the long history of success in the chemical engineering program and build a strong future for the school.”
The commitment from the Voilands will specifically provide support for the school and for the College of Engineering and Architecture as they seek to address the great 21st century challenge of meeting a sustainable energy future, said Candis Claiborn, dean of the College of Engineering and Architecture. The nation faces some of the most difficult challenges of our lifetimes. Technologies that have fueled our lifestyle are not going to suffice in the future. Dramatic innovation to create a sustainable future is essential.
“The Voilands believe that WSU can be leaders in the development of creative solutions to the nation’s energy challenges through the sound application of chemical engineering principles,” said Claiborn. “Through their generous gift, they are helping us to meet that important challenge.”
Support from the Voilands will enable the hiring of faculty who will conduct research in catalytic systems for renewable fuels and sustainable energy.
“The support of the Voilands will help to advance research and scholarship in the School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering and enables us to bring in new faculty who are leaders in this field,” said School Director James Petersen. “With the support of the Voilands, we are excited to grow the reputation of the school and have our students taught by the very best in the field.”