Investment Manager Jeffrey Vinik Gives $5 Million to Duke Engineering School

DURHAM, N.C. - Duke University engineering alumnus and investment portfolio manager Jeffrey N. Vinik and his wife, Penny, are giving $5 million to Duke's Pratt School of Engineering to expand and improve the school's facilities, President Nannerl O. Keohane announced Thursday.

Vinik, former manager of the Fidelity Magellan Fund, is the founder of Boston-based Vinik Asset Management, a $3 billion investment partnership.

"Jeff is known for his ambitious, sound investments. This particular investment's impact will be very great - the start of a whole new era for the engineering school at Duke," Keohane said. "I am delighted by this most recent expression of confidence in the university and the school. It is most fitting that the Vinik name will be associated with the school's growing reputation."

Vinik said that he sees this gift as an investment that will help Duke address critical needs in engineering and technology. "Duke's engineering programs are strong, and in some cases among the best in the world. But it's clear that the changing pace of technology requires that Duke's students and faculty be able to work in laboratories that can provide state-of-the-art environments for cutting-edge engineering instruction and research.

"Penny and I are very pleased that we can help jump-start the school's facilities planning. We hope our gift will provide an incentive for others who share our love of Duke to step forward at this extraordinarily exciting time for engineering at the university."

Vinik's gift is the second multi-million dollar contribution to engineering announced in the past three months. Duke announced in October that it was naming the engineering school for Pfizer Inc. chairman emeritus and Duke engineering alumnus Edmund T. Pratt Jr., following Pratt's gift of $35 million to endow the school.

Pratt School Dean Kristina Johnson, who came to Duke in July, said, "Jeff and Penny's gift helps us design our future. To do this, it is imperative that we improve our facilities, and we are already at work looking at a variety of new space options. This generous gift makes the school's planning very real. I know I speak on behalf of everyone in engineering, including my predecessor, Earl Dowell, in expressing our gratitude."

Vinik, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke's School of Engineering, earned a bachelor of science degree in 1981. He received an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1985, and won Duke's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994. He and his wife live in Weston, Mass., with their three children.

Vinik also has made other gifts to Duke, including the endowed Jeffrey N. Vinik Professorship. The Vinik gift, when combined with the Pratt gift, have moved the engineering school beyond its original goal of $50 million in the university's current fund-raising effort, the Campaign for Duke.

Although engineering studies at Duke date back to 1888 at Trinity College, the School of Engineering was organized in 1939. Today, the engineering school has a total of 108 faculty members, 935 undergraduate students, and 289 graduate students.

The school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in four engineering departments - biomedical; civil and environmental; electrical and computer engineering; and mechanical engineering and materials sciences. The school also offers the Master of Engineering Management degree.

In addition to its departments, the school also houses numerous research centers, including the Engineering Research Center for Cardiovascular Technology, the Center for Cellular and Biosurface Engineering, the Center for Advanced Computing and Communications, the Design Automation Technology Center, the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics and Complex Systems and the Orthopedic Biomechanics and Tissue Engineering Center.