The gift will be used to fund the Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative, an effort to create at least thirty-five new endowed chairs and professorships, expand the Department of Bioengineering, and support additional research in medical imaging, nanoscale biotechnologies, cell and tissue engineering, and systems biology. At least twenty-six of the endowed chairs and professorships — representing approximately $40 million of the gift — will be focused on bioengineering and big data, with the aim of cementing the university's leadership in the field of computing and information technology.
The gift also will be used to launch a $100 million endowment campaign for engineering scholarships, as well as a capital campaign for the $40 million renovation of the Everitt Laboratory building. Established in 1949 by alumnus William W. Grainger, who graduated from the university in 1919 with a degree in electrical engineering and went on to found W.W. Grainger, Inc., a supplier of maintenance, repair, and operating products, the foundation is a longtime benefactor of the UI College of Engineering.
"This generous donation from the Grainger Foundation will strengthen the College of Engineering's ability to maintain its legacy of groundbreaking accomplishments and remarkable new discoveries that change the world and enrich the lives of people everywhere," said Ilesanmi Adesida, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. "We are certain that this very generous gift to the College of Engineering at Illinois will have broad impact across all of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and beyond."