Alumni Rally to Support Fire Protection Engineering Legacy Campaign for a Professor of the Practice

Fire Protection Engineering graduates are rallying around their department to support the Legacy Campaign for a Professor of the Practice to help ensure students stay current on the latest technologies used in the field.

“Our graduates must be prepared to become practicing fire protection engineers,” explains Fire Protection Engineering Department Chair James Milke. “The main purpose of the professorship is to preserve the connection of the department to the profession and to the applied side of the field.”

Milke notes, “This department has been recognized for many years for producing outstanding young engineers and more recently for the high quality of research we conduct.” According to Milke, the professor of the practice will bring hands-on field experience to the undergraduate curriculum and will strengthen the school’s ties with industry.

Discussions about the professorship began a few years ago, and the idea gained momentum with a number of alumni who created a list of well-connected graduates to engage in the discussion.

“The department has provided the highest quality academic experience for more than 50 years and we all benefited,” says Bob Andrews, B.S. ’80, campaign co-chair and president and CEO of the Bob Andrews Group, LLC, who has made a $100,000 gift to the campaign. “Now it is time for our generation to create our legacy and make sure the department continues its work for the next 50 years.”

Campaign Co-Chair Art Cote, B.S. ’65, one of the early graduates of the program and former executive vice president and chief engineer of the National Fire Protection Association, notes the need to strike the right balance between research and practical application in the study of fire protection engineering. “A good fire protection engineer always needs to be aware of what is happening in the environment—the latest changes in building materials or architectural designs—that potentially affect fire safety systems, which is why professors must be connected to the real world.

“This is a wonderful chance to support a profession that has served all of us well. This campaign can help keep the profession vibrant and on the leading edge,” adds Cote, whose son Eric, B.S. ’87, has followed in his career footsteps.

Jack Poole, B.S. ’86, principal of Poole Fire Protection in Kansas City, who has donated $100,000 to the campaign, has a number of reasons for supporting the professorship. “The Clark School program is the only Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)-accredited bachelor of science fire protection engineering program in the world, and it is vital that we keep this quality program up and running to produce future generations of fire protection engineers,” says Poole, whose son Andrew, B.S. ’11, M.S. ’12, is now pursuing a second master’s in engineering management and whose daughter Stephanie is preparing to enter the program in fall 2013. “It is gratifying to see alumni coming together as a team to support the professorship and the profession.”

The department began to promote the fundraising effort last June with a public announcement in November. Already, it has raised close to $500,000 of its $2.5 million goal. A naming opportunity for the professorship is still available.

For more information on how you can contribute to the Legacy Campaign for a Professor of the Practice, contact Allison Corbett at 301-405-5841 or

Published March 9, 2013