Kasubas support CEET students with endowed scholarships
Former Dean Romualdas Kasuba and his wife, Nijole.
The Dean Romualdas Kasuba Auditorium is very much at the center of things in the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology.
It's where thousands of wide-eyed students have taken courses like Introduction to Engineering. It's also where national and international scholars and experts inspire the next generation of engineers.
The auditorium was dedicated to Romualdas "Rom" Kasuba during CEET's 25th anniversary celebrations in 2011. He is also recognized for his role in founding the college and his work as a goodwill ambassador since retiring as dean in 2003. After retirement and the dedication, the Kasubas established several scholarships for CEET students and continue to make planned gifts to the college.
Current CEET Dean Promod Vohra says that Rom "laid the foundation for the college and set the standards for excellence that have allowed it to excel during its first quarter century."
Rom's legacy echoes throughout the college, but for mechanical engineering graduate Joe Von Arx, it has a more personal meaning. Joe, an intern at UTC Aerospace Systems, in Rockford, Illinois received a scholarship from the Kasubas who have funded two endowments to support mechanical engineering students.
"It's an honor to have received this scholarship," Joe says. "With eight brothers and sisters, that financial support helped keep me in school."
Building the College of Engineering
"I like challenges and hard work," Rom says, adding that he got plenty of both when he came to NIU. Kasuba arrived in 1986 and inherited an engineering program established on paper the previous fall. He worked tirelessly to assemble an outstanding faculty and staff and improve the labs. Within four years, all of the school's new programs had attained full accreditation, which was the catalyst for funding to construct the building for the engineering programs. That building, completed in 1995, remains a source of pride for Rom, who notes the facilities are ranked among the best in the nation.
Today, the college has grown to boast one of the largest undergraduate engineering and technology enrollments in the state.
Rom says developing the college involved partnerships with industry, alumni, donors, and the entire NIU community. He readily credits those who came before and after him for their roles in establishing the college's national and international reputation.
The college's rapid rise to success is something few people might have thought possible, but Rom has worked against long odds for most of his life. Born in Lithuania, Rom's early life was turbulent. By the time he was 13, his family had tasted brutal Soviet and Nazi occupations and WWII. They ended up in Nazi Germany, where he worked as a forced farm laborer. His family eventually immigrated to America at the end of 1948, and he found his way to Chicago, where he worked in a factory to earn money for college.
Rom earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1962 and then began a career in the aerospace industry. His work included contributions to the lunar excursion module of the Apollo project, Saturn, and unmanned flight systems. He is also a proud veteran of the United States Army.
No Place Like HomeM
Today, Rom says he cherishes his association with the university as an emeritus faculty member and donor. "We all know philanthropy has a profound effect on the student," Rom notes, "but the effect on a donor is equally as profound. It makes you feel like you are an active part of the academic community. You are where the action is."
"There is always something going on, something under development, always moving forward," he adds.
To date, seven students have benefited from the Romualdas and Nijole Kasuba Scholarship endowments.
Rom and Nijole live in St. Charles, love to travel, and attend NIU events regularly. He reports that both of his grandsons "just love NIU." One has attended two summer engineering camps, he says, and the other is enrolled as a student.
Like Rom Kasuba, you can make a difference for the next generation of students. Contact Judy M. Schneider at 815-753-1389 or email@example.com if you would like to extend your support for NIU this year. We would be happy to help you design a gift that fits your goals.