The Dedication of the John C. Wahl thinkTANK was the highlight of a $2 million campaign that continues to be spearheaded by engineering alumnus Ron Olson, BSEE (’58), retired Boeing Company executive with a distinguished history of volunteer leadership in the college. $1 million has been raised to-date to remodel the site, secure equipment and install advanced technologies and $1 million is yet to be raised for students’ programs.
The facility that showcases cutting-edge architectural and pedagogical features with curved glass walls will transform the way students learn by boosting the support and delivery of all engineering programs. The main objectives of the center are to enhance students’ successes by keeping them interested in and excited about engineering through team learning, peer tutoring, student projects, student societies, research and internship opportunities, advising, study abroad, career fairs and guest lecturers
The Frances and John Wahl Foundation Director Greg Wahl spoke at the celebration on October 28 and said, "My uncle loved the University and wanted to support the College of Engineering in a way that would be meaningful and keep on giving long after he was no longer here."
Because of John's wise planning and generosity, future generations of Idaho students will have a great future.
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John Charles Wahl, 1948, B.S. Metallurgical Engineering, was born February 12, 1922 in Minneapolis the youngest of three brothers whose father, Joseph Wahl, was a German immigrant.
The family left Minnesota in the late 1920s and eventually settled in Kellogg, Idaho. All three of the boys worked their way through the Depression and attained degrees at the University of Idaho. Like so many others the lives of Doug, Randy, and John were interrupted by service in World War II and again during the Korean War.
John married Frances Mitchell in 1948, shortly before he graduated from University of Idaho with a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering. The couple moved to Arizona in the early 1950s and they lived in Phoenix for the remainder of their lives (Frances died in 2002; John in 2009).
John worked as a civil engineer for Southern California Gas Company, then as a materials and process engineer for Douglas Aircraft and a metallurgist for Goodyear Aircraft, before going to work for AiResearch Manufacturing Company, which was a division of The Garrett Corporation.
At AiResearch, John was the Manager of its Materials Engineering Laboratories, which engaged in a diverse range of chemical/ metallurgical testing and analytical services. These projects involved aircraft and rocket engines, as well as spacecraft components and a wide variety of other devices and materials.