Legacy Gift Highlights Dedication to International Partnerships in Engineering
Virginia Bugliarello—wife of legendary civil, bio, and social policy engineer Dr. George Bugliarello (NAE ’87)—has made a vitally impactful pledge through a combination of outright and bequest gifts in honor of her late husband to establish the George and Virginia Bugliarello Endowed Fund. This fund will empower the newly named George and Virginia Bugliarello NAE International Secretary to execute their work at the NAE supporting programs that promote and foster relations with international partners in a more robust fashion than ever before.
This incredibly generous gift is special because of the history and connection it shares with the Bugliarello family. Born in 1927 in Trieste, Italy—before earning his master’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, respectively—George knew firsthand what it meant to the NAE’s immigrant and international members to have an academy that welcomes, values, and serves them.
George served as International Secretary on the NAE Council from 2003 to 2011 with his trademark collegiality, leadership, and kindness, but that was only the capstone of his service to the NAE’s international membership and the international community at large. In addition to his work within the Academies connecting with international members and serving on committees fostering scientific cooperation between the United States and nations such as Japan, Iran, and Russia, George consulted with UNESCO and took on assignments as a specialist with the US State Department working towards economic development in Venezuela and Central Africa.
Listed above are only a handful of highlights from a career dedicated to bettering our world through engineering, a mission George began closer to home while President of the Polytechnic Institute of New York (now the Polytechnic Institute of NYU). From the start of his term in 1973, George led a revitalization of the institution’s flagship campus in Brooklyn, which culminated in the development of the Metropolitan Technology Center in the area surrounding campus. At its height, Metro Tech brought 22,000 corporate workers to Brooklyn, and its effect in kickstarting the borough’s revitalization earned George the New York City Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology.
While a partner in all her husband’s philanthropic and humanitarian endeavors, Virginia took on her own efforts to give back to their local community as well. For 40 years, she served as a public librarian in their hometown of Port Washington, NY, providing generations an enriching public space to grow and learn.
With the support of the NAE and other leading organizations, Virginia and George spent the rest of their lives together spreading their community development work globally. With Virginia’s gift, future NAE International Secretaries now have the resources to follow in George’s footsteps to collaborate with leading engineers around the world and bring forth positive change and progress. This gift also qualifies Virginia for membership in the Abraham Lincoln Society of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Abraham Lincoln Society acknowledges and honors members and friends whose lifetime giving is $1M or more. We are profoundly grateful for Virginia’s support of the NAE and its global outreach work as overseen now by the George and Virginia Bugliarello NAE International Secretary.