On Thursday, the University announced a $20 million donation from James S. Tyler Jr. GRD ’65 to the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design.
The funding will be used to establish and endow a director’s resource fund to help “sustain the activities of the center in perpetuity,” the announcement said. Tyler, who received both a master’s degree and a PhD from the Yale School of Engineering, made a previous donation to the CEID in 2015, when he endowed the center’s directorship.
“This donation secures the future [of the CEID] as a contributor for innovation and design at Yale,” Deputy Dean of the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science Vincent Wilczynski said. “It’s the best thing ever. What students have had for four years, now is for eternity.”
Wilczynski, who is also the James S. Tyler Director of the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design, called the donation “uplifting.” He added that the funding will allow the center to continue with its current level of service and ongoing programs, such as summer fellowships for dozens of students and outreach efforts in the New Haven community.
Tyler — originally from New York — relocated to Silicon Valley at the conclusion of his formal education, where he got involved with multiple entrepreneurial tech companies. He became involved with Optivision, Inc — a software company offering ophthalmic laboratory management systems — and by 1989 was president and CEO of the company. He retired from his positions in 1998.
The CEID, which has 3-D printers, hand tools, electronics work stations and materials available for all its members, is used largely by the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. SEAS received its own $20 million donation last March from two anonymous donors.
And yet, the impact of this new contribution will go beyond SEAS. According to the center’s website, over 60 percent of CEID members are undergraduate students — 25 percent of which are declared majors in the humanities or social sciences.
“It is a university-wide resource for all interested in designing new projects, solving problems and collaborating with others,” Wilczynski said. “It is all about sharing expertise with colleagues of all different parts.”
Tyler has also endowed positions at his alma mater Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Coast Guard Academy, where he was sworn in as a cadet.