The Texas A&M Student Engineers' Council has pledged $1 million to
help pay for a new undergraduate complex, possibly the largest donation from a
student group in the history of the university and one of the largest of its
kind in the nation.
The funds will go toward building a multi-million 300,000-square-foot Engineering Education Complex that will be connected to the existing Zachry Engineering Center on campus. The facility will help accommodate the university's ambitious "25-by-25" initiative to increase Dwight Look College of Engineering enrollment from 11,000 to 25,000 students by the year 2025.
The complex exclusively dedicated to undergraduates will feature classrooms and state-of-the-art laboratories, according to officials who said they hope to have the complex operational in 2016.
Ryan Haughey, president of the Student Engineers Council, said the bulk of the money comes from the group's semi-annual engineering career fairs, which charges admission for employers seeking fresh Aggie talent. He said the group of about 130 members started building up for the landmark donation about three years ago, and that the payment will be made in installments over a 10-year period.
"We have the unique opportunity from just the nature of our efforts with the career fair," said Haughey, a senior aerospace engineering major. "We have the financial basis to make a commitment like this. I think the broader statement that gets made to student organizations is: one, the college wants to involve you, and two, with the college involving you, we need to step up as students."
University officials expect the price tag of the complex to run $137 million, $70 million of which will be paid for by the Texas A&M System and $5 million that will be paid by the university. External donors will pick up $62 million. University officials confirmed that the college already has $25 million in verbal commitments from current and former students.
Still, officials were ecstatic about the student donation.
"The Student Engineers' Council pledge is one of the largest contributions from a student organization the Texas A&M Foundation has ever received," wrote Ed Davis, president of the Texas A&M Foundation, in a statement emailed to The Eagle.
Similarly pleased was System Chancellor John Sharp.
"Nowhere in the nation have students made this strong a commitment to the future of a university," Sharp said. "This sends a strong message to all Aggies, particularly engineers, about helping advance [Engineering College Dean] Dr. [M. Katherine] Banks' outstanding vision for Aggie engineering."
(c)2013 The Eagle (Bryan, Texas)
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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