SmithGroup makes scholarship gift to Department of Architectural Engineering


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — SmithGroup, one of the world’s preeminent integrated design firms and the longest continually-operating architecture, engineering and planning firms in the United States, has pledged a gift of $50,000 to create a Department of Architectural Engineering scholarship aimed at undergraduate students. The “SmithGroup Scholarship Honoring George P. Karidis, Inventor,” funded by the company’s Detroit office, honors George P. Karidis, PE, LEED AP BD+C, an alumnus of the architectural engineering department.

Aligning with SmithGroup’s mission to support the aspirations of architectural and engineering students, the gift will support students’ growth and development as the future leaders of the built industry.

Kevin Parfitt, professor of architectural engineering, expressed why he believes the gift will be influential to the department and students alike.

“Recognition by industry in a variety of forms, including scholarships, helps the AE department with visibility for our educational mission, recruiting and retention of students and provides a feedback loop for assessing our educational programs,” he said. “In the case of the SmithGroup scholarship in honor of George Karidis, it also demonstrates to students the impact of our graduates and the breadth of their accomplishments, as Mr. Karidis has set an example as an innovator and inventor.”

As a SmithGroup design director, Karidis is at the forefront of his field. He utilizes his extensive knowledge and experience to create innovative engineering solutions into the design of high-technology facilities. Karidis’s constant dedication can be reflected in his hard work and additional achievements, such as being presented a national ASHRAE Technology Award in honor of his design for the Visteon Village campus, which featured lake-based condensing and a unique linear UFAD system that he patented in 2007.

“An excellent mentor and communicator, George is always encouraging the full development of other engineers and architects,” SmithGroup said. “George is an outstanding engineer, a recognized innovator of engineering systems for the built environment, and a kind and generous person admired by friends, colleagues and peers. He cares deeply about design integration, low-entropy solutions and environmental stewardship.”

As a part of Penn State’s A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence fundraising campaign and the First-Time Endowed Scholarship Donor Matching Program, a 1:1 matching contribution will be made by the University, resulting in a total endowment of $100,000. The A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence campaign emphasizes fulfilling three core imperatives: opening doors, creating transformative experiences and impacting the word.

“Industry-sponsored scholarships such as this are important not only because they help make education more affordable for students but because they are an endorsement of the AE program from the perspective that companies such as SmithGroup are pleased with the quality and preparation of our students. It helps us to know that we are on track with the education we are providing to current students and future graduates,” Parfitt said. With the commitment and generosity of donors like SmithGroup, Penn State will be able to further its historic mission of serving the public good and creating a better future for students, the Commonwealth and the world.

Undergraduate students who are pursing or have declared plans to pursue the lighting/electrical, mechanical or structural options in architectural engineering are eligible to apply.


Share this story:

facebook linked in twitter email
george karidis, russ sykes, and jeff hausman

SmithGroup employees George Karidis (left) and Russ Sykes (middle), both Penn State alums, stopped by the Nittany Lion Shrine with Jeff Hausman (right), SmithGroup senior vice president and Detroit and Pittsburgh office director.



Widely acknowledged as one of the top Architectural Engineering programs in the world, the Penn State AE Department is dedicated to providing outstanding academic excellence to all of our students. The AE program is focused on preparing students and conducting research in the design, engineering, and construction of building projects.

Department of Architectural Engineering

104 Engineering Unit A

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-6394