Why I Give
An Illinois civil engineering alumnus, Larry Sur (BS, MS 1965) and his wife Rosie generously support bioengineering and civil engineering students through the Engineering Visionary Scholarship (EVS) initiative. As a student in the early 1960s, Larry was the recipient of a scholarship that enabled him to study at Illinois.
"We wanted to give back and encourage the best and brightest [students] in engineering to come to Illinois.”
He chose to support students in both civil engineering and bioengineering disciplines because of his affnity for his home department and personal experience with bioengineering-related products.
"I have an artificial aortic heart valve...and an artificial knee," he said. "I'm just amazed at what you can do with engineering and medicine."
About Larry Sur
- One of the top leaders in logistics in N. America and Europe
- Retired vice chairman of GENCO, a supply chain solutions firm that was acquired by FedEx in 2015
- Entrepreneur who co-founded knowledge-based logistics firm IOgistics Inc. in 2000
- Successful 23-year career at Schneider National, where he held several key leadership roles
- Started his career at Whirlpool, where he helped develop computer-aided design of appliances
- Recipient of the 2001 Salzberg Award for achievements in logistics and transportation
Rachel Walker (BS 2016) supports Illinois Bioengineering through gifts to the general fund because she wants current students to have access to the best technology and tools.
“I want to help the department keep bringing in technology and making it available for students to use, so they can make a major impact right out of school or even while still in school,” she said. “The more hands-on experiences and opportunities, the better it is for everyone.”
A member of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) chapter at Illinois when she was a student, Walker loved working on Engineering Open House projects. For example, she and her teammates designed and built an ankle brace that monitored stress on an athlete’s ligaments in order to combat ankle sprains.
“This was the first time I actually developed a prototype,” she said. “We not only learned the theory, but we had to physically manufacture a device to show a proof of concept. That was amazing for me—and it was possible because we had the resources we needed.”
Today, Walker is applying the project management and communication skills she learned at Illinois in her job at Boston Scientific each day. Walker trains and assists medical personnel on how to safely use the company’s Rhythmia electrophysiology system, which creates a 3D image of a patient’s heart chamber to diagnose and treat arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat.
About Rachel Walker
- Started career at Boston Scientific in June 2016 as a clinical field rep in the Cardiac Rhythm Management Division. She programmed defibrillators and pacemakers for physicians during the implant process.
- By January 2017, she was promoted to work on Boston Scientific’s electrophysiology clinical studies, training co-workers and physicians on study protocols.
- Promoted a second time in spring 2018 to her current job as a Rhythmia mapping specialist.
- Favorite Bioengineering classes: Professor Brad Sutton’s Modeling Human Physiology (BIOE 302) and Introduction to Biological Control Systems (BIOE 420) courses.
- Recipient of a Decatur Illini Club scholarship her freshman year at Illinois.
Vikram Reddy (BS 2015) supports the Illinois Bioengineering department through gifts to the Engineering Visionary Scholarship (EVS) and general funds out of a sense of pride and gratitude for the department.
“I’m proud of the Bioengineering department—its faculty research, collaboration with the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine, and renovation of the Everitt Lab facilities—and am excited by the direction it’s headed in,” Reddy said. “I want to do what I can to contribute to that innovation and forward-looking vision.”
While at Illinois, Reddy received a Provost merit-based scholarship for his academic record. “That scholarship enabled me to be successful at Illinois and in the field of my choice,” he said. “I want to pay that forward to a new generation of students.”
Reddy is a senior associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Chicago, where he helps healthcare clients embark on digital transformation, including adopting emerging technologies like Cloud Computing and Internet of Things, to support their business goals.
According to Reddy, the Bioengineering undergraduate program prepared him well for his consulting career. “Our curriculum gave me countless opportunities to synthesize and analyze data from multiple inputs and communicate the results, which sharpened my critical thinking,” he noted. “I also was able to work with a diverse set of people through several team-based projects in Bioengineering, which is critical for working in business.”
About Vikram Reddy
- Has been working for PwC as a consultant since graduating from Illinois Bioengineering in 2015.
- As a student, he liked the small class sizes in Bioengineering, where he developed friendships that he still cherishes today.
- Favorite classes: Greg Underhill’s Tissue Engineering (BIOE 476) course.
- He was named to the Senior 100 Honorary — although the Bioengineering curriculum was rigorous, you were encouraged to make a difference in the school and community
- In his free time, he likes to travel internationally, is training for his first marathon, hosts a book club, and volunteers regularly at Lakeview Pantry.
Double the gift
The Engineering Visionary Scholarship makes an Illinois education accessible to the most-deserving and highest-achieving students. Thanks to a matching gift initiative sponsored by the Grainger Foundation, the Surs were able to double their EVS donation, enabling them to support twice as many scholarships.
Now through the end of 2019, the Grainger Foundation will match all donations up to $25 million to Illinois Engineering scholarship endowments.