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07/01/2009 07:00:00

Kent and Joyce Kresa Endow Professorial Chair at Caltech

Professorship creates permanent support for a leading investigator

Kent Kresa, interim chairman of General Motors, and his wife have pledged $2 million to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to endow the Joyce and Kent Kresa Professorship in Engineering and Applied Science. Kresa is Chairman of the Caltech Board of Trustees. The Kresa gift is matched with an additional $1 million provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Matching Program.

"Our very good friends the Kresas have shared their time, vision, and resources with Caltech for many years," said Caltech president Jean-Lou Chameau. "They know our approach: attract leading thinkers, give them the best resources we can, and create an atmosphere in which they can collaborate easily. Kent and Joyce's generous gift will support one great engineer after another and will lead to great discoveries and inventions."

The chair will support and recognize a faculty member in engineering and applied science, with a preference for faculty in aeronautics and aerospace engineering, fields Kresa has helped shape, most notably in 28 years with Northrop Grumman that included 13 as the company's CEO and chairman. Ares Rosakis, the Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering and chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, will work with Provost Edward Stolper to select the inaugural Joyce and Kent Kresa Professor.

"Endowed chairs offer our faculty the ultimate freedom to pursue the research thrusts they are most passionate about—and this is truly invaluable to Caltech and our continued vitality," said Rosakis.

Kresa has been a director of GM since 2003, when he retired from Northrop Grumman Corporation. Kresa joined that company in 1975 and was elected president in 1987, CEO in January 1990, and chairman in September 1990. Kent and Joyce Kresa are President's Circle members of the Caltech Associates.


 About Caltech:
Caltech is recognized for its highly select student body of 900 undergraduates and 1,200 graduate students, and for its outstanding faculty. Since 1923, Caltech faculty and alumni have garnered 32 Nobel Prizes and five Crafoord Prizes. In addition to its prestigious on-campus research programs, Caltech operates the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the W. M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, the Palomar Observatory, and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Caltech is a private university in Pasadena, California. For more information, visit

Written by Jon Weiner