Santa Clara University


Kuehler Funds Innovation and Creativity

When Jack Kuehler talks, people listen—and for good reason. An SCU alumnus who holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s in electrical engineering, and an honorary doctorate of engineering science, Kuehler is also former president of IBM, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, IEEE fellow, and a Santa Clara University Trustee. So, when he recently advised a group of undergraduate engineering researchers that they must be missionaries to the public, spreading the gospel of the importance of technological competitiveness to the health of the United States, the students took notice.

Kuehler said complacency regarding innovation and creativity in the technical arena is a long-term problem for the United States. He urged students and faculty members to keep competitiveness alive, to keep researching, and to be aggressive in patenting engineering ideas. Not one to merely talk the talk, Kuehler and his wife also fund The Carmen A. and Jack D. Kuehler Undergraduate Engineering Research Fund. Each summer, five to six faculty members invite promising sophomore and junior students to join them in research funded by this grant.

In January, Kuehler visited campus to hear of the projects his funding supported last summer. Students and faculty members reported on a wide range of topics, including thin film organic solar cells, overlay networks for robotic synchronization and communication, casting systems to study the mechanical behavior of non-toxic bulk metallic glasses, and innovations in green binders—adhesive-free techniques for the manufacture of panels made from waste materials such as wheat and rice straw.

“I am encouraged by the important and meaningful research being done here in the School of Engineering,” Kuehler said, “We need to promote inventiveness within our students—it is vital that we do so; our children’s children are counting on us to keep America competitive.