The family of a Marquette engineering alumnus will donate an additional $25 million to Marquette University’s College of Engineering, doubling a previous donation, Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., university president, said Tuesday.
The alumnus and his wife, who asked to remain anonymous, announced a legacy gift of $25 million to the College of Engineering in December 2006. Father Wild said the couple’s family members have now decided to add another $25 million to that gift to challenge other benefactors to assist in the transformation of engineering education underway at Marquette.
“The members of this family are strong supporters of our Catholic, Jesuit mission and of the efforts we are undertaking to transform engineering education to better meet the needs of the 21st century workforce,” Father Wild said. He noted that several family members are Marquette alumni.
The new gift will come from a combination of personal donations from family members and donations from the family’s foundations. Proceeds will go toward construction of a Discovery Learning Complex that will house the College of Engineering, a scholarship fund for engineering students and other uses in the college, including an energy workshop.
Donation, property acquisitions put proposed new building in sight
Opus Dean of Engineering Stan Jaskolski said this latest donation to the College of Engineering will further accelerate plans for the Discovery Learning Complex. The university recently completed the acquisition of properties in the 1600 block of West Wisconsin Avenue; the new facility is expected to be built on the south side of Wisconsin Avenue between 16th and 17th streets. The new building is part of an overall $150 million plan Jaskolski has set forth that includes endowments for scholarships and faculty chairs.
“We are shaping a new breed of engineers,” Jaskolski said. “They will be firmly ground in theory, trained to be inventive problem solvers and entrepreneurs at the forefront of modern engineering, and anchored in the Jesuit tradition of making a difference in our world.”
Jaskolski said the new Discovery Learning Complex will change the way engineering students learn. Preliminary designs call for a series of “houses,” which place classrooms, research labs, faculty offices and student study areas in close proximity. The multidisciplinary labs being envisioned include materials and structural testing, complex systems, mechatronics, energy, visualization, neuromechanics, biomedical imaging and global workplace literacy. “Globalization has changed the way engineers work,” Jaskolski said. “Speed, customer focus, strong teamwork and excellent communication skills are essential in today’s marketplace. Our new facility will help us emulate what is occurring in the world and continue to prepare men and women to be leaders in technology and innovation.”
Energy workshop will address global challenges
The energy workshop being funded by the new gift will serve as a venue for students and faculty to educate, explore and address energy-related issues. It will provide a state, national and world view of energy resources and usages in an academic environment, including exploring the challenges associated with engineering viable energy solutions, strategies for their deployment, and energy policies. A present College of Engineering project that demonstrates such possibilities is a trademarked, patented project called “GasDay” which currently predicts almost 20 percent of the country’s natural gas consumption for utilities nationwide. “We know that a collaborative, multidisciplinary, hands-on approach like this captures the attention of our students and fosters research opportunities,” Jaskolski said.
College captures K-12 students’ interest
Jaskolski said an important part of the new building and the college’s overall initiatives is outreach, particularly to K-12 students. “We’ve seen the popularity of our engineering summer camps for children as young as six grow three-fold since we introduced them two years ago,” he said. “Our successful partnerships with middle schools and high schools through Project Lead the Way also demonstrate that if we capture students’ interest before college, they are more likely to pursue STEM-related studies, the disciplines so crucial for our country’s economic growth.” He said a planned atrium commons in the new building will provide spaces where elementary and high school students can gather to experiment, research and demonstrate their findings and where the community can hear guest lecturers and participate in special events.
“Our generous donors are well aware of and enthusiastic about our plans,” Jaskolski said. “They recognize the important role engineering education plays in the future of our community -- and our country.”
In addition to the $50 million from this family, the Marquette College of Engineering has received a number of other gifts to support Jaskolski’s initiatives:
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