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UMass Amherst College of Engineering Receives $10 Million Gift

AMHERST — The UMass Amherst College of Engineering (COE) has received a $10 million gift from Jerome and Linda Paros aimed at accelerating its cutting-edge work in atmospheric research and hazard mitigation by enabling a new center of excellence. The gift is the largest ever received by the college.

The gift will support the translation of ongoing and future research into improved hazardous weather predictions, alert systems, and policies that will save lives as the world continues to experience increases in the intensity and frequency of storms and other extreme weather events that stem from climate change. The $10 million gift will provide discretionary support for the new Paros Center for Atmospheric Research, funding for the Paros Fellows/Scholars Endowed Fund for graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships, and to establish the Paros Chair of Atmospheric Research and Hazard Mitigation.

“This transformative gift is a recognition of the tremendous talent and expertise we have at UMass Amherst,” College of Engineering Dean Sanjay Raman said. “Jerry and Linda Paros are enabling us to build on our established track record of accomplishment in ways that will have a profound impact on our nation and the global community. This gift will greatly enhance our capability to translate research in areas such as radar systems, the internet of things, data science and artificial intelligence, and unoccupied aerial vehicles into real-world hazard mitigation systems. It is an extraordinary investment, and we are deeply grateful.”

Building upon UMass Amherst’s leadership in the field through the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) — an engineering research center housed at UMass and established through prior National Science Foundation funds — this new funding will enable UMass researchers to expand CASA’s original mission to explore new frontiers in atmospheric measurement, science, and technology.

Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy noted that UMass faculty have been at the forefront of this effort. “Through their innovation, our researchers are building a new level of safety for communities around the world,” he said. “Now, with this gift, we will expand our understanding of hazardous weather conditions and explore the next generation of life-saving strategies.”

Jerome Paros, a 1960 UMass Amherst alumnus, is a leader in the field of geophysical measurements. He holds more than 50 patents and is the founder, president, and chairman of Paroscientific Inc., Quartz Seismic Sensors Inc., and related companies based in Redmond, Wash. These companies use the quartz crystal resonator technology he developed to measure pressure, acceleration, temperature, weight, and other parameters. His work has improved the measurements of geophysical phenomena such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and severe weather, and enhanced knowledge about the complex earth, air, and ocean processes that produce climate change. In the mid-2000s, Jerome and Linda Paros endowed a fund in measurement science at UMass Amherst, with the goal of creating synergy in this field of study between the COE and the College of Natural Sciences.

Paros holds an undergraduate degree in physics from UMass Amherst and a graduate degree in physics from Columbia University. He is an International Society of Automation fellow and received the society’s Si Fluor Technology Award in 1980 and the Albert F. Sperry Founders Award in 2006. UMass honored him with a Distinguished Achievement Award in 2011.

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