Illinois Tech Celebrates Finkl Family Legacy


The strength of a great university resides in its faculty, and Illinois Institute of Technology invests distinguished faculty members with endowed chairs in recognition of their academic excellence and leadership. On October 13, 2015, the Illinois Tech community honored a long-celebrated family legacy with the investiture of Philip Nash as the Charles and Lee Finkl Endowed Chair in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering.

Lee Finkl and her late husband, Charles W. “Chuck” Finkl (ME ‘43), have carried on the family legacy with their significant generosity to Illinois Tech. Chuck’s father, William Finkl (CHE ‘17), helped the university become a leader in distance education by creating the William F. Finkl Interactive Instructional Television Network (IIT/V), while Chuck’s philanthropic focus was scholarship and research. Together with Lee, they established the C.W. and Lee Finkl Equipment Fund, the IIT Thermal Processing Technology Center, and several scholarship funds, in addition to their newly invested endowed chair. Present at the investiture ceremony was Nicholas Finkl, Chuck and Lee’s grandson, marking the fourth generation of Finkls to impact the university. “IIT meant a great deal to my grandparents,” Nicholas said, “and I’m honored to commemorate this day and carry on our family tradition.”

Nash himself is a mark of the Finkl legacy—when he began teaching at Illinois Tech in 1981, Bruce Liimatainen (ME ‘77), member of the IIT Board of Trustees and past chairman and CEO of A. Finkl & Sons, was among the students in his very first Illinois Tech class.

Through their leadership, service, and philanthropy, the Finkl family has had a transformative impact on Illinois Tech for nearly a century. Generations of students and successful alumni have been inspired by the Finkl family leadership and generosity to Illinois Tech, while the A. Finkl & Sons legacy of innovation continues to motivate the enterprising engineers and innovative students at the university today.