MTS Systems Corp. Makes Million Dollar Donation to DSL

MTS Endows $1 Million for Dynamics Systems Lab
MTS Endows $1 Million for Dynamics Systems Lab
At a presentation on April 29, MTS Systems Corp announced a $1 million endowment to Michigan Tech's Dynamic Systems Lab.
At a presentation on April 29, MTS Systems Corp announced a $1 million endowment to Michigan Tech's Dynamic Systems Lab.

A Minnesota-based company which recently acquired a Buffalo, New York business, has made a million-dollar donation to Michigan Tech.

The Dynamic Systems Laboratory (DSL) in Michigan Technological University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, has received a $1,000,000 endowment.

The endowment from MTS Systems Corp. honors Jim and Bob Lally, founders of PCB Piezotronics, a high-technology sensor company headquartered in the Buffalo suburb of Depew, New York. The company was recently acquired by MTS Systems, a Minnesota-based supplier of test systems and industrial position sensors.

At a brief presentation recently, Jeff Graves, president and CEO of MTS, said both companies had enjoyed a long relationship with Michigan Tech. He said when MTS acquired PCB Piezotronics, the two companies wanted to make a significant contribution to higher education.

“Initially we were going to split the million dollars among several institutions, but in the end we decided to pick one, and we picked Michigan Tech,” Graves said.

He said he wants to see the relationship with Michigan Tech continue to grow. “We respect the research carried out at Michigan Tech; we hire your graduates, and we want to hire more of your students. We want to be involved in training through internships, co-ops and other programs that will help prepare your students for their future with industrial companies like MTS.”

At the presentation, Jim Lally spoke of the merging of the two companies. “It made sense to join with MTS as our history and cultural values are very similar. Our biggest strength is manufacturing self-sufficiency.”

The MTS Jim and Bob Lally Endowment allows the Dynamic Systems Laboratory at Michigan Tech to provide financial support for graduate-student fellowships, for travel to conferences to present technical papers and for the purchase of special lab equipment when other funding is not available.

Tech’s DSL conducts research and produces graduate students in the area of acoustics, vibration, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), structural dynamics, noise control and signal processing.

"We respect the research carried out at Michigan Tech; we hire your graduates and we want to hire more of your students."Jeff Graves, President and CEO, MTS Systems Corp.

Graves said MTS views the automotive research and measurement technology activities at the DSL as a synergistic resource for MTS product development and improvement.

PCB Piezotronics was founded more than 50 years ago by Jim Lally and his brother Bob to pursue the development and application of integrated circuit micro-electronics to piezoelectric sensors, devices that measure changes in pressure, acceleration, temperature, strain or force, by converting these changes into an electrical charge. The technology is now the standard worldwide.

According to MTS, manufacturers worldwide rely on MTS Systems Corp. to provide industry-leading testing and sensing solutions.

Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz said the University was very appreciative of the MTS endowment. “My guess is the other universities you were considering were bigger than Michigan Tech, and we’re not on the way to any place,” Mroz said. “But we are committed to business and industry, and that goes all the way back to our founding legislation.”

ME-EM Department Chair William Predebon explained how gifts like the MTS Jim and Bob Lally Endowment benefit the department and the University.

“We have had a long relationship with both PCB Piezotronics and MTS Systems that has had a significant impact on the educational and research programs in the ME-EM department. This donation will continue to make a difference in the lives of our students,” Predebon said.

While in Houghton, Graves, Lally and executives from their companies toured the DSL and other ME-EM labs, as well as the APS labs, and visited the Keweenaw Research Center.


Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, the University offers more than 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.