University News

U. launches $160 million campaign to expand engineering

The new School of Engineering facilities will be on College Hill, administrators said

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, April 11, 2013

Signaling the start of a $160 million campaign to develop the School of Engineering, the University announced Wednesday morning the school’s receipt of two gifts totaling $44 million.

New engineering facilities will be built adjacent to Barus and Holley, where the School of Engineering is currently housed, said Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, at a press conference.

No new facilities for the school will be built in the Jewelry District, a location the University had previously considered for expanding the School of Engineering, Quinn said.

Theresia Gouw ’90, a Corporation fellow, and Corporation trustee Charles Giancarlo ’79 and his wife, Dianne Giancarlo, donated $35 million. Anonymous donors contributed $9 million, according to a University press release.

“We believe the best place for (expansion) is on College Hill next to adjacent facilities,” Quinn said.

The University hopes to raise the $160 million for the School of Engineering before launching its broader capital campaign, Quinn told The Herald.

Though the University still needs to raise a substantial amount in order to meet that goal, administrators hope to reach $80 million by the end of this calendar year to meet the requirements for selecting an architect for the building expansion, Carey said.

Dean of Engineering Larry Larson said the University is committed to fostering local economic partnerships in developing the engineering program. Through the technology transfer office, the school will develop corporate affiliates to connect research to industry, he said.

“Technological advances that come out of universities can really have an impact,” Larson said. He cited several current University research projects, such as a federal contract awarded to a team led by Assistant Professor of Engineering Shreyas Madre to harness tidal energy in Rhode Island.

Plans for expansion include redesigning how the school’s existing buildings are used, increasing the number of faculty members from 45 to 60 and increasing the number of graduate students by 50 percent over the next decade, Larson said.

The framework for expansion involves a net addition of 100,000 square feet, Carey said. Keeping expansion within a 10-minute walking radius of other campus buildings would be the least disruptive for students and professors, he added. Peer institutions, such as Harvard, employ a similar scale, he said.

“It’s a great idea they’re going to build around Barus and Holley,” said Zuleyka Marquez ’15, an engineering concentrator, adding that engineering students were concerned about a potential move to the Jewelry District.

A focus on expanding the graduate program will make it more appealing to potential applicants, Marquez said.

The central location of Brown’s engineering facilities on campus and the ability to easily take classes in other departments attracts applicants, engineering concentrator Divya Sahajwalla ’15 said.

The addition of faculty members and graduate students in the school will provide more research opportunities for undergraduates, she added.

Engineering was one of a number of priorities identified at the end of the University’s last capital campaign, Carey said.

That campaign, led by former President Ruth Simmons, raised $1.61 billion, more than any other campaign in University history.

The University has already met with the city council, mayor, governor and community groups about the plans, Quinn said. Any expansion in the Hope Street area will respect the “historic nature of the community,” she added.


Correction: A previous version of this article stated that administrators hope to raise $80,000 by the end of the calendar year to reach the University’s $160 million goal for the School of Engineering. In fact, they hope to raise $80 million. The Herald regrets the error.

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  1. Daniel Moraff says:

    But we can’t afford universal need-blind because c’mon guys we need another pile of bricks. Stuff over people, always.

    Also isn’t this the kind of thing the “strategic planning” process is supposed to cover? Just another reason why that process is so thoroughly bogus. Add it to the list.

    • What advantages do universal need-blind admissions offer?

    • It’s a worthy goal, for sure. FYI, there are only four universities and two colleges that offer universal need-blind and full-need for all applicants. A high bar for an institution to be able to afford.

      If it makes us feel better, the challenges facing endowments and applicant families are made crystal clear by what’s going on at Wesleyan. They’ve had to back track on their need-blind policy. I’m sure that’s tough for the school to swallow.

      So long as the goal remains on the priority list for Brown, I’d rather promises be made to international students and others once there’s no risk of reneging.

  2. This is great news! A smart decision to keep the facilities on the College Hill campus. Another opportunity to build a new structure to remedy some past architectural mistakes. Nelson Fitness and Frank Hall are good examples. (While we`re at it, let`s raise money to put a new facade on the OMAC and remove that crazy spire from Grimshaw.) STEM`s a priority. Keep it going.

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