Brown dedicates new Engineering Research Center in commencement weekend kickoff

BROWN UNIVERSITY has dedicated its new Engineering Research Center located on Manning Way Thursday. Dean Larry Larson sits center, clapping, with keynote speaker Subra Suresh to his right and President Christina H. Paxson seated far right. / PHOTO BY NICK DENTAMARO / COURTESY BROWN UNIVERSITY
BROWN UNIVERSITY has dedicated its new Engineering Research Center located on Manning Way Thursday. Dean Larry Larson sits center, clapping, with keynote speaker Subra Suresh to his right and President Christina H. Paxson seated far right. / PHOTO BY NICK DENTAMARO / COURTESY BROWN UNIVERSITY

PROVIDENCE – As part of the weekend-long celebration of their 250th commencement ceremony, Brown University, Thursday, dedicated its new Engineering Research Center.

The project totaled $88 million and is the product of five years of planning, design and construction – which wrapped up in October.

Located on Manning Walk within the Brown campus, the three-story, 80,000-square-foot facility will be home to 15 faculty research groups, 20 research associates and 80 graduate students within the Ivy League college’s increasingly expanding School of Engineering.

“Brown’s strength in engineering is built on generations of innovative alumni and dedicated faculty members,” said Brown Chancellor Samuel Mencoff officially declaring the facility open during the Thursday dedication.

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In his remarks he said the $88 million project reflected the school’s “commitment to educating and preparing the most creative leaders in the field to seek solutions to some of the world’s most important social challenges.”

In his remarks Thursday, Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering Larry Larson gave a further picture of the work that would done within the walls of the new facility.

“We have a lot of work to do solving problems of human disease, creating sustainable energy, healing our environment and bridging the digital divide,” he said, adding, “With this building now in place, we turn our focus to bringing the very best faculty here to Brown and partnering with our amazing students to expand the impact and excellence of our research programs.”

The keynote address was given by Subra Suresh, president of Singapore-based Nanyang Technological University and a former Brown assistant professor in the engineering department.

Mencoff, as well as Brown University President Christina H. Paxson, who was also in attendance and spoke, thanked the many donors – including Theresia Gouw, Charles Giancarlo, and Joan and Paul Sorensen – who made the new facility possible.

To date, the BrownTogether campaign has raised more than $142 million for engineering at Brown, according to Paxson.

In addition, a 25 percent jump in faculty has been witnesses in the engineering department since 2010 which is mirrored by a 30 percent bump in undergraduate enrollment and a doubling in the number of graduate students.

Designed with collaborative academic work in mind, the ERC features open plan research labs – including a 4,000-square-foot nanotechnology clean room, a biomedical application clean room, imaging suite and undergraduate teaching lab – as well as a first-floor common area and adjacent green space.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email, gowdey-backus@pbn.com.