Siemens, Koffel Gifts Help Fire Protection Engineering Reach $2.5M Milestone in Legacy Campaign

The Department of Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) at the University of Maryland (UMD) today announced that a $100,000 gift from Siemens and a matching gift from Bill Koffel of the fire protection engineering firm Koffel Associates have helped the department reach its target minimum for the ongoing Legacy Campaign. The campaign, which was started in 2012, aimed to raise $2.5 million for the establishment of an endowed Professor of the Practice position by June 30, 2016. At the end of the 2015–16 school year, the total hovered around $2.3 million.

This spring, Koffel, who pledged funds in 2014 and again in 2015, put up an anonymous offer to match a $100,000 contribution, which Siemens committed to over the July 4th weekend. Together the two gifts will push the campaign over its $2,500,000 threshold.

Kenneth E. Isman (B.S. '86, FPE) was appointed the first Clinical Professor supported through the fund in 2014, bringing a hands-on approach to the undergraduate curriculum.

"One of the goals of the professorship is to preserve the tradition that we've had of being well connected to the profession, both in terms of the applied classes at the undergraduate level and attracting applied industry-sponsored research," said FPE Chair Jim Milke.

As a result of the Legacy Campaign's continuing efforts, the department will be able to establish this position as a permanent fixture in the department, allowing future generations of students to benefit from contact with practitioners in the field.

The donation from Siemens is a continuation of the partnership between UMD and the company, which awarded the university an in-kind software grant in 2013, provided gift-in-kind and technical support to the department in 2014–15, and currently sponsors UMD's Hyperloop team. Dr. Milke also serves on an external panel of industry experts to judge the annual winner of Siemens' Engineering Innovation Award for fire and life safety design.

Established in 1956, the department is the only ABET-accredited undergraduate fire protection engineering program in the world and one of three graduate programs in the United States.

Further contributions to the Legacy Campaign will help to strengthen the professorship’s success in the coming years. Contact Allison Corbett at or 301-405-5841 to learn how to contribute.

Published September 9, 2016