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June 19, 2019

UMaine gets $1.5 million for new engineering center

University of Southern Maine engineering student Courtesy / University of Maine The University of Maine plans to break ground on a new engineering center next year, and the state university system is attempting to prepare more students like this one for engineering careers.

The University of Maine has received a $1.5 million gift to help build a planned engineering center, estimated to cost $75 million.

The Orono school said in a news release Monday that the donation from the Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Research Foundation will support construction of the Engineering Education and Design Center, which is expected to begin next year.

The center will house the UMaine Biomedical Engineering Program and Department of Mechanical Engineering, and will include space named in acknowledgment of the gift.

“The Engineering Education and Design Center will transform engineering education at the university and in the state, fostering a collaborative community of learners — students, faculty, alumni, employers, and academic, research and industry partners,” UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy said in the release.

Established in 1942, the Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Research Foundation supports the advancement and promotion of medicine and pharmacy.

“Knowing that the new EEDC will be fostering and advancing engineering students, faculty, alumni and others is a wonderful achievement for UMaine,” said the foundation’s president, Kimberly Herold Alvarez. “The Pfeiffer Foundation is honored to be partnered with UMaine in this project.”

The gift brings the total amount raised for the new facility to $66 million. Construction is expected to be complete by 2022.

The EEDC project exemplifies the emphasis the state university system is placing on engineering.

Last fall, UMS launched its Maine Engineering Pathways Program, to help more students prepare for a Maine-based engineering career, in response to a critical state shortage of trained engineers. 

The program is designed to prepare students to graduate in four years from an accredited engineering program and to join the lucrative field, where annual salaries start at over $60,000.

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