ORANGE PASSION: Engineering & Technology

Anonymous donor gives
$1 million for next-generation undergraduate engineering and technology lab

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Thanks to a $1 million leadership gift from an anonymous donor and a matching contribution from the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, Oklahoma State University will break ground on a new laboratory building Saturday at 2 p.m.

The $2 million combined gift is a significant step toward completing the $35 million goal for the Undergraduate Engineering and Technology Laboratory Building, which will support the college’s success and add value to the quality of degrees earned at OSU by encouraging entrepreneurial ideas and developing tomorrow’s innovative leaders. This gift will help launch the college’s multidisciplinary laboratory spaces and give OSU students an experience beyond those at peer institutions.

“The new undergraduate laboratory will be an innovative hub of learning that shifts the College’s pedagogy from traditional engineering education to a robust combination of theory and systems education with hands-on applications to better educate and prepare the next generation of engineers, architects and technology professionals. This new laboratory space is an inspirational tool that engages the next generation of OSU students and faculty to meet the intellectual capital needs of business and industry throughout the state, regional and nation.” Paul Tikalsky, Dean of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology

The donor is funding a hands-on advanced instrumentations laboratory as a way to support interdisciplinary engineering experiences at OSU and address Oklahoma’s shortage of engineers, who play a critical role in the state’s growing economy. Engineering enrollment at OSU has doubled in the past decade, creating a critical need for modern laboratories that address the challenges of tomorrow and drive economic development in Oklahoma. The donor joins two other anonymous, multimillion-dollar lead donors to launch the next generation of OSU graduates.

The Oklahoma State Undergraduate Laboratory will enhance academic outcomes through hands-on education, interdisciplinary and collaborative problem-solving and entrepreneurial innovation. Its goals were established by collaboration between industry, College leadership, faculty, students and OSU’s long-range master planning. These include creating a flagship facility for undergraduate programs; encouraging interaction and cross-pollination among all constituents; creating topic-specific laboratories; exhibiting and utilizing building systems as instructional tools; and serving as a reconfigurable and scalable facility to adapt to changes in people and technology.

The building will include areas designed to facilitate specific undergraduate, project-based learning. The chemical, biomedical and environmental labs will be state-of-the-art facilities that support scaled-unit plant operations, allowing students to understand the design parameters of processing chemicals and industrial materials into usable products, as well as heat transfer and fluid mechanics. The mechanical and physical properties testing labs will allow students to characterize materials by physically testing the properties they need in their designs. The electronics and communications labs will be a hands-on environment that allows students to put theory to practice and develop innovative devices that measure, evaluate and control electrical systems.

“The competitive differentiator in engineering education is state-of-the-art laboratory experiences for students. Many universities rely on computer simulation as a low-cost alternative to hardware experiences. Our vision at OSU is different. We want our students to have real-world, interdisciplinary design and project experiences in a laboratory setting using real-world instruments found in any modern technology company. This $1 million gift and the match will make that vision happen.” Jeffrey Young, Head of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The building will house 14 undergraduate research laboratories spread strategically throughout its three floors along with a lecture hall and student-project space. It will be at the corner of Hester Street and Athletic Avenue, bridging architecture, engineering, business and Boone Pickens Stadium.

The student project spaces will be highly flexible, empowering students to work on their capstone projects with faculty and industry mentors, either individually or in groups, while providing ample opportunity for cross-college interaction and synergy.

Features in the structural, mechanical and electrical systems will enhance the facility’s value as an instructional tool. Among these will be the exposed steel structure, meters displaying energy and water usage, and color coding and labeling.

To learn more about this visionary building contact Tylerr Ropp or visit our CEAT Undergraduate Lab page.

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