For alumnus Greg Hamm (CEE′73), investing in education is crucial.
Hamm and his wife, Wanda Ingmire, recently created the Hamm-Ingmire Climate Mitigation Endowed Research Fund, an asset that will provide the Carnegie Mellon University community resources on climate change mitigation, prediction, and adaptation. Hamm is also the second person to ever endow a CMU-Africa fellowship.
“My wife and I believe that if you want to invest in the future and make big changes, education is a really good way to do that,” Hamm said.
Hamm noted that while these causes—climate change and CMU-Africa—may seem separate, they both play a vital role in addressing global issues. You can’t solve one without solving the other, he believes.
“About 50% of the world lives in poverty by developed nations’ standards. If 50% of the world focuses on growth and 50% of the world focuses on climate change, neither problem will get solved. We have to control climate and have global development at the same time,” he said. “They’re both part of the same puzzle.”
Hamm has been doing research on climate change since his doctoral thesis at Stanford University in 1982 and felt the CMU College of Engineering was the best place to address climate issues.
“That has made this a 45-year-interest of mine,” he reflects. “I think Carnegie Mellon University is a fairly unique place to invest. It’s a school that gets a lot out of its investment and gets a lot out of its students.”
Hamm said the commitment of CMU students to hard work and of faculty to teaching fundamentals continues to stick out to him, and notes the lessons he learned as a student have stood the test of time. He recalled being an undergraduate student at CMU and being surrounded by other talented peers, all committed to doing the hard work.
As an example, Hamm remembers introductory computing courses not focused on computer language syntax but focused on in-depth concepts.
“At Carnegie Mellon, it was looking at, ‘What can we teach that’s going to last and be fundamental?’ rather than, ‘What are we going to teach that will allow students to solve this problem set,’” he said.
My wife and I believe that if you want to invest in the future and make big changes, education is a really good way to do that.Greg Hamm, CEE ’73 Alumnus
In terms of his investment in CMU-Africa, Hamm strongly believes the region has the largest gap between resources and talent, and the fellowship is specifically geared toward providing resources for African women.
“I’m convinced there’s plenty of talent in Africa, but the resources that allow that talent to really accomplish something are very limited in comparison to the developed nations,” he said.
Hamm said learning about CMU-Africa was one of the factors that encouraged him to start giving back to his alma mater.
“In the later stages of my career, I started doing a little more investing in the future,” he said. ‘The CMU-Africa program really put it over the top. I was very interested in Africa and that really connected with me.”
Hamm’s passion for his work continues throughout changes in his career, as seen by Ingmire.
“It's very pleasant to see this person I love and respect in different roles,” she said.