Improving Life for Millions of People

Clark School benefactor and mechanical engineering Professor of Practice Robert E. Fischell and his family have donated $31 million to establish a bioengineering department, which will offer both undergraduate and graduate education, and create an institute for biomedical devices.

The Clark School announced the gift on December 19 in a ceremony in the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building. In recognition of the donation, the Clark School will name its bioengineering program the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices.

Fischell's sons David, Scott and Tim took part in the ceremony along with their own families.

The Fischells see the gift as their chance to make the world a better place.

"The finest goal that engineering can achieve is to improve the quality of life for millions of people throughout the world," Robert Fischell said. "Bioengineering and biomedical devices are the most direct means to achieve that goal.

"Wealth allows us to do good works and to remove impediments to bettering the human condition," Fischell continued. "Our gift to the Clark School will help engineering students to develop their ideas to improve health care for human beings throughout the world."

Currently, the bioengineering program only offers graduate-level courses. Undergraduate admissions into the bioengineering program will begin in the fall of 2006.

Fischell is the creator of several lifesaving medical devices and biomedical companies. He serves on the Clark School Board of Visitors and the University of Maryland Foundation Board of Trustees, and is the 2002 inductee in the A.J. Clark School of Engineering Innovation Hall of Fame. He received a Masters degree in physics from the university in 1953.

Fischell, who holds more than 200 patents, is the father of modern medical stents, lifetime pacemaker batteries and implantable insulin pumps. His latest inventions could warn of impending heart attacks, end epileptic seizures and stop migraine headaches.

Published December 15, 2005