Almost a year ago, Rowan University lost its namesake, Henry M. Rowan. Now in honor of the university’s greatest donor, the new Henry M. Rowan College’s Engineering Hall celebrated its official opening on Thursday.
University President Ali Houshmand and several other representatives from the Rowan College of Engineering spoke about the building at the ribbon cutting, voicing their hopes of creating a brighter future for the college and its students.
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During a speech, President Houshmand said that he hopes Rowan’s engineering program will now be able to differentiate itself from other institutions of engineering and connect the research people do while “focus[ing] our totality of research in the area of life sciences.”
“This building opens the gate to define ourselves as a research institution,” Houshmand said. “In my view the future economy of this country is going to be in the area of life sciences.”
Engineering Hall houses four new classrooms, 19 labs and 14 collaboration rooms for students to conduct research and work. The three-floor building also includes several project labs for biomedical engineering and electrical engineering research.
The new hall is connected to Rowan Hall by a third-story sky bridge. The entire project cost $70.6 million and took 18 months to complete.
The purpose of Engineering Hall is to increase the enrollment capacity for students wanting to major in engineering. The building is said to be able to accommodate 500 more students and expand the university’s engineering program, according to a fact sheet provided at the ribbon cutting.
Dean of the College of Engineering Anthony Lowman gave a speech in which he commemorated Henry Rowan’s donation to the university. He also mentioned that the amount of engineers currently enrolled at Rowan today is nearly equal to the number which have previously graduated from the program.
“[It’s] because of one man that all of us are sitting here today,” Lowman said. “A man who took a crazy risk and gave $100 million to Glassboro State [College].
“In 20 years we’ve graduated a little over 1,600 [students] and right now we have as many students enrolled in this college as we have graduates.”
Virginia Rowan-Smith, daughter of the late Henry Rowan, spoke about her father’s legacy and impact on the College of Engineering. She echoed her father’s sentiments toward engineering during her speech.
“Some of you will recall when he said, ‘We don’t need more engineers, we need more great engineers,’” she quoted. “And educating students to become ‘great engineers’ is just what we are doing here.”
One engineering student said that, while he’s had some initial small critiques, he enjoys the new building overall.
“I like it, it’s a good building,” said electrical and computer engineering senior Josh Howlett. “There were a few issues with connectivity; I think some professors are having trouble connecting to the Wi-Fi but I think they are working on that as we speak.”
Howlett went on to talk about his appreciation of the new collaboration rooms and how there is now enough space for students and faculty.
“There are nice collaboration rooms. They ran out of office space for the faculty in the other building. It’s great having more than enough space now,” he continued.
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