Gift from University of Portland engineering alumnus establishes Richard and Diane VanGrunsven Professor of Engineering



February 23, 2016

University of Portland has received a gift from engineering alumnus Dick VanGrunsven '61, for $30,000 to establish a new term professorship in the Shiley School of Engineering. Over the three-year term of the project, mechanical engineering professor Timothy Doughty will have the title “The Richard and Diane VanGrunsven Professor of Engineering.”

With the VanGrunsven gift, Doughty will work to improve the quality and increase the number of co-curricular, hands-on, student/faculty projects conducted during summers in the Shiley School of Engineering. 

“Over the last decade, our new faculty hires have embraced opportunities to work on applied projects outside of the classroom and jointly with our undergraduate students,” according to Shiley School of Engineering dean Sharon Jones. “Professor Doughty was instrumental in starting this trend, and this generous gift will allow him to elevate experiential opportunities to a new level. I cannot wait to see the results!”

Dick VanGrunsven founded Van’s Aircraft, Inc., in 1972, primarily to sell plans and parts for the RV-3, a homebuilt aircraft he designed (the “RV” in each model number match his initials). He manufactured the company’s products himself in a small shop behind his house in Reedville, Oregon. As business grew and Van’s Aircraft began producing full aircraft kits and new designs, the company moved to larger quarters in North Plains, Oregon. In 2000 the company moved to a new 60,000-square-foot facility near the small town of Aurora, Oregon. The employee-owned company currently employs over 50 people and produces several hundred complete aircraft kits per year.


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