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Rose-Hulman Saddened By Loss of President Matt Branam

April 20, 2012

Matt Branam collage  
Matt Branam touched lives, shepherded achievement, fostered
initiatives for the betterment of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is mourning the loss of its 14th president, Matt Branam, who died this morning following a sudden medical emergency in his office. He was transported to a local hospital by ambulance and died shortly after his arrival.

William R. Fenoglio, chairman of Rose-Hulman's Board of Trustees, issued the following statement about today's tragic event:

"Our loss today saddens us deeply. Matt Branam was unique and talented; as a graduate of Rose-Hulman, he brought a level of passion for the school that created new energy on our campus.

"He was a visionary who celebrated the wonders of Rose-Hulman and enthusiastically shared them with people throughout Indiana and across the country. We all express our deepest condolences to his family.

"Details about Rose-Hulman's interim leadership and memorial services will be forthcoming."

Branam, 57, was a Terre Haute native who earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Rose-Hulman in 1979. He was elected Rose-Hulman's president in November 2009 after serving five months in an interim role.

"I returned to my alma mater to become president because I could not think of a more vital or important place to be at this moment in American history," Branam stated recently. He was a strong advocate of science, math and engineering education in solving global issues.

"Matt Branam's tragic passing is a loss not only to one of America's finest academic institutions but to our entire state," said Governor Mitch Daniels.  "Matt was leading Rose-Hulman from strength to strength, and its graduates are making enormous contributions to the economic life of Indiana. It's especially sad because this native son of our state came home to us after an illustrious career elsewhere, and we had all looked forward to many more years of his leadership. He'll be a very difficult person to replace."

Branam in Office   

Accomplishments during Branam's tenure include launching a branded strategic planning process for the Institute that engaged, to date, more than 2,000 alumni, corporate and education leaders, faculty and staff, students, and parents.  He also presided while Rose-Hulman maintained its No. 1 ranking in U.S. News & World Report's annual college ranking of specialized undergraduate engineering institutions. 

Branam was a vibrant and innovative leader who brought many new enhancements to campus. Among this long list was the creation of a collaborative student working environment, the Student Innovation Center, which opened last fall; the construction of a 240-bed LEED-certified residence hall, to be open this fall; the construction on the William Alfred Cook Laboratory for Bioscience Research, now under- way; and the remodeling of five state-of-the-art classrooms, opening this fall. He also expanded global awareness and diversity initiatives.

"President Branam shared a heart-felt passion for the Institute and its students and that was appreciated by the entire campus community.  He was an amazing leader, a great mentor, but most importantly, our friend," stated student leader Andy Milluzzi, a senior computer engineering and software engineering major. "He had an energy to move Rose-Hulman to even greater heights as the innovative leader in science, math and engineering education."

Branam lived the transformational power of a Rose-Hulman education. After graduating from Rose-Hulman, he climbed the corporate ladder at UPS where he worked through college to help pay for his education. In an engineering role initially, he helped the rapidly growing company design, develop, construct and operate the UPS distribution network. His UPS career grew from engineering into regional management and culminated as the Vice President of Public Affairs, a role in which he represented the corporation's interests in Washington, D.C. Branam worked with our nation's leaders on public policy dealing with key issues such as energy, labor and the environment, among others.

Branam in Thought  
At a recent session of The "Great" Debate, one of
Matt Branam's forward-looking initiatives.

After 24 years at UPS (1972-1996), Branam answered former senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole's request that he serve as the first-ever chief operating officer of the American Red Cross. During his tenure, the nonprofit organization's operating revenue grew by 38 percent to $2.5 billion annually. Branam's duties at the Red Cross included overseeing a network of 1,300 chapters, blood service regions that provided 56 percent of the nation's blood supply, tissue services centers, major laboratory operations, field stations at U.S. military installations around the world and the nation's most extensive disaster relief operation. He led a turnaround in the agency's fiscal position, led an organization-wide visioning process, reorganized the corporate structure, and launched a brand-image campaign that included a prime-time network television celebration of Red Cross heroes.

After leaving the Red Cross, Branam's expertise in board relations, brand management, legal, labor and financial affairs positioned him as an executive coach and highly sought senior consultant for organizations such as the United States Postal Service and the National Academy of Public Administration.

He is survived by three adult children: Clint, Washington, D.C.; Travis, Terre Haute, Indiana; and Brooke, Alexandria, Virginia.


About Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Founded in 1874, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology offers a rigorous, hands-on education that stresses development of technical and interpersonal skills in an environment characterized by close personal attention for every student.  The college, located in Terre Haute, Ind., has an enrollment of 1,900 undergraduate students and 100 graduate students.  For 13 consecutive years, Rose-Hulman has been rated the top undergraduate engineering college in the nation that offers the bachelor's or master's degree as its top degree in engineering.  The ranking is based on a national survey of deans and senior faculty conducted by U.S. News & World Report for its college guidebook.  Rose-Hulman's emphasis on undergraduate education has also been recognized by The Princeton Review and, which cited six of the Institute's professors for this year's Best 300 Professors book.  Learn more about Rose-Hulman at