The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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A Legacy of Passionate Support: Remembering Charles Perrell ‘71

Charles Perrell

Charles Perrell

Charles "Charlie" F. Perrell, who received his BS degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the College of Engineering in 1971 and his MBA from the Isenberg School of Management in 1972, was a prominent engineer, businessman, venture capitalist, philanthropist, and recipient of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Distinguished Alumni Award.

Throughout his career, Perrell was passionate about combining his love for technology and business. As director for the startup Sun Microsystems, Perrell initiated and successfully built out the company's international business. Perrell then joined MIPS Computer Systems as VP International when the company was a private startup and grew MIPS' international marketing, sales, and service, which comprised the majority of the company's revenue at its IPO. As Executive Vice President and Co-founder of Network Appliance Corporation, Perrell worked on the company's business plan and initial funding and then launched worldwide marketing, sales, and service.

In 1997 Perrell founded Environmental Software and served as its CEO before becoming president and principal of Perrell Ventures in 2000. He was also an active angel investor and devoted significant time and resources to philanthropy at UMass Amherst and other institutions.

At UMass Amherst, Perrell contributed generously for more than 30 years to the College of Engineering, the Isenberg School of Management, and the Athletics Program. He initiated three endowed funds at the College of Engineering: the Perrell Scholarship Fund, the Perrell Research and Teaching Fund, and the Perrell Current Fund in Environmental Engineering. Professor and Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Head Dr. John Tobiason observes, “Charlie’s significant investments in the program and our students allowed for accelerated research activity in several key areas for the department.   Dozens of students have received critical support from Perrell Funds and his legacy will live on through their contributions to finding solutions to pressing engineering challenges.”

Perrell received the 2000 Alumnus of the Year Award and a Distinguished Achievement Award from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2013. The Perrell Computing Lab in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was named in his honor.

Perrell passed away in December of 2021.