Fritz and Chris Kucklick support College of Engineering’s future impact through lead gift
When Frederick “Fritz” Kucklick, BSME ’69, and his wife Chris (Murdock) Kucklick, BA ’70, first chose Ohio Northern University as the place to receive their college educations, they may not have known just how much of an impact they would make on the institution’s future. Now, that impact is undeniably clear.
The couple has recently made a lead gift to the University’s “Campaign for Engineering: Building Impact at ONU,” an endeavor to fund a new building for the T.J. Smull College of Engineering.
The proposed 105,000-square-foot facility will be nearly twice the size of the current 55,000-square-foot Biggs Engineering Building and will feature space for collaboration, class projects and community-building, helping ONU remain on the cutting edge of educating engineers who make a difference. To date, approximately $13 million has been committed toward the total fundraising goal of $15 million for the building.
The Kucklicks’ gift is the most recent in a long list of the couple’s contributions to ONU, as they have offered their time, talents and treasures for many years. Fritz has served as a member of the ONU Board of Trustees since 2009 and the College of Engineering Advisory Board since 2003. Chris has personally welcomed prospective students through her volunteer work with the Alumni B.E.A.R.S. program.
Fritz was the first member of his family to attend college, studying mechanical engineering at ONU. When he was 30, he and a partner purchased a small tool-and-die shop near South Bend, Ind., that had seven employees. Over the next 21 years, Kucklick and his partner grew the business into Hess Industries Inc., with 500 worldwide employees and $75 million in annual sales.
In 1998, Kucklick sold his interests in Hess Industries Inc. at age 51. He wasn’t ready for a life of leisure, however, just a change of pace. He launched IMT Consulting and became an engineering and management consultant, litigation consultant, and expert witness for clients in the manufacturing technology industry. He works with some of the nation’s top law firms on legal cases in the manufacturing industry. He carefully investigates cases, prepares extensive reports, and testifies in depositions and trials. Attorneys rely on his insider knowledge of engineering and operations and his excellent written and oral communication skills.
Fritz is grateful to ONU for equipping him with the skillset for success.
ONU gave me a solid foundation and steered me in the right direction,” he says. “My ONU education has been a huge factor in my success my entire life.
Through the years, Fritz has watched the evolution of ONU’s engineering program and the growth in student projects and hands-on learning. He believes the time is right for a new building.
“Engineers require a lot of tools, and they need space to build, test and re-test. We’ve run out of space,” he says. “I have no doubt that a new engineering building will benefit the College of Engineering and the entire University.”
The Kucklicks’ donation is greatly appreciated by the College of Engineering and the University as a whole. It will ensure that many future generations receive the same quality education that helped the couple so much.
Fritz and Chris Kucklick are loyal and generous alumni and volunteers for ONU,” says Shannon Spencer, ONU’s vice president for university advancement. “Fritz’s leadership as a member of the Campaign Steering Committee, the Engineering Advisory Board and the Board of Trustees has been instrumental in the success of this project. Fritz and Chris truly care about the success of students, and they demonstrate that caring through their actions.
ONU’s College of Engineering continues to prove itself as one of the finest engineering programs in the nation. In its 2017 Best Colleges rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranks the College of Engineering 31st nationally among programs that offer a bachelor’s or master’s as the highest degree. ONU’s ranking is especially notable as the college continues to advance after being ranked 39th nationally among similar programs the year before. This is the ninth time in the last 10 years that ONU’s College of Engineering has been ranked as a top-50 program.
To learn more about the “Building Impact” campaign or to make a donation, visit http://www.onu.edu/university_development/campaign_for_engineering.