Praxair named corporate partner of the year by UB Engineering

A volunteer works with a student from the Buffalo Public Schools on an experiment that involves flying a toy helicopter.

Praxair has sponsored numerous University at Buffalo programs, including Buffalo-Area Engineering Awareness for Minorities, that promote STEM education. Here, an engineer works with a Buffalo Public Schools student. Photo: Douglas Levere

Also receiving student mentorship awards are alumni Mike Hooven and Kevin Burke, a teaching assistant professor at UB

Release Date: October 7, 2014 This content is archived.

“Multifaceted corporate partnerships of this kind enable UB to provide its students with diverse and rewarding educational experiences, and support the faculty to conduct groundbreaking research. ”
Liesl Folks, dean, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Pop quiz: How has Praxair enriched the educational experience for University at Buffalo students?

a) By offering internships and hiring hundreds of alumni.

b) By sponsoring seminars, lectures and workshops, and programs that promote women and minorities in engineering.

c) By creating a professorship, funding for graduate students and donating equipment to research laboratories.

d) By having company officials serve voluntarily on advisory councils that steer university growth.

e) All of the above

The answer: e) All of the above.

While not a comprehensive list of what the global industrial gases supplier has supported at UB, the answer indicates a strong commitment to higher education, especially in Western New York.

That partnership will be recognized Thursday at the Student Club Expo and Engineering Alumni Night when the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) formally introduces Praxair as the 2014 UB Engineering Corporate Partner of the Year.

“Praxair’s engagement with the University at Buffalo, particularly the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has been exceptional. Multifaceted corporate partnerships of this kind enable UB to provide its students with diverse and rewarding educational experiences, and support the faculty to conduct groundbreaking research,” said Liesl Folks, SEAS dean.

With roughly 27,000 employees in more than 50 countries, Praxair is one of the world’s largest industrial gas suppliers. The company operates facilities in Tonawanda and Niagara Falls, where it employs roughly 1,300 people, many of whom are UB graduates.

One of those graduates is Todd Skare, a Lancaster native and now the company’s chief technology officer who received a bachelor’s of science in chemical engineering from UB. Skare, who directs Praxair’s research and development efforts, and the coordination of its global market networks, will accept the award on the company’s behalf.

“It is an honor to be receiving this award on behalf of Praxair,” said Skare, who works at Praxair’s Connecticut headquarters. “From the combined efforts UB and Praxair have put toward advancing STEM education with area middle and high school students, to the many university graduates who are now building careers at Praxair, we are proud of the strong relationship we have developed together over the years.”

The event, which will feature the work of many of UB’s student engineering clubs, will also include the following award presentations:

  • 2014 UB Engineering Mentor of the Year: Mike Hooven. A UB alumnus and former Moog employee, Hooven developed a program in which he mentors students by helping them prepare resumes and acquire job skills, and by connecting them with employers. Hooven is an independent consultant to airlines and commercial aerospace manufacturers.
  • 2014 UB Engineering Student Supporter of the Year: Kevin Burke, PhD, a UB alumnus, is a teaching assistant professor and director of undergraduate education in electrical engineering. Burke, also the faculty advisor to the UB Space Bulls NASA Robo-Ops Team and deputy director of UB’s Energy Systems Integration Laboratory (ESI), is active in numerous science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs, including Buffalo Engineering Awareness for Minorities (BEAM), Tech SAVVY for Women, and Science is Elementary.

“It’s so important to recognize alumni and faculty members who dedicate themselves to helping UB’s engineering students succeed in the classroom and after they graduate,” Folks said. “Mike and Kevin have each worked tirelessly mentoring and coaching many UB engineering students, and the individual success stories that have followed are remarkable. Their continued commitment to nurturing our students is recognized by these awards.”

The event, which runs from 6-8 p.m. at Davis Hall on UB’s North Campus, includes food and a bar. It costs $10 for alumni and guests. Register here:

There is no charge for Delta Society members or members of UB Engineering’s advisory boards; however, they are asked to register via email with Donna Linenfelser at or call 716-645-0997.

Media Contact Information

Cory Nealon
Director of Media Relations
Engineering, Computer Science
Tel: 716-645-4614