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UMaine Gets $10 Million Gift To Build Engineering Center

The largest capital gift ever given to the University of Maine, $10 million from an anonymous donor, will go toward construction of a new, 100-thousand-square-foot Engineering Education and Design Center.

UMaine Dean of Engineering Dana Humphrey says the facility will be the center for the college’s undergraduate engineering education programs. He says the new building will allow students to be educated for the modern world and allow collaborative learning.

“In the labs they’re going to be able to work together in teams. There’s going to be breakout spaces where groups of, say, five students or so can sit down work on their homework, work on their projects,” he says. “The center of this is going to be the undergradate design lab. This is where our engineering students actually make things. To be an engineer, certainly, we’re designers — you analyze, you design — but, at the end of the day, our projects have to be practical. They have to be things that people can build.”

Humphrey believes the new building will be critical to meeting the need for engineers in Maine. He says the number of engineers employed in Maine is increasing dramatically. In addition, engineers who are part of the baby boomer generation are retiring. Humphrey says about a quarter of the state’s engineering workforce is age 55 or older.

Humphrey says total cost of the new center will be $70-$80 million dollars. The state of Maine is providing $50 million for the project and the University of Maine about $5 million, leaving between $10 million and $20 million to be raised, in addition to the $10 million anonymous gift.

Ed is a Maine native who spent his early childhood in Livermore Falls before moving to Farmington. He graduated from Mount Blue High School in 1970 before going to the University of Maine at Orono where he received his BA in speech in 1974 with a broadcast concentration. It was during that time that he first became involved with public broadcasting. He served as an intern for what was then called MPBN TV and also did volunteer work for MPBN Radio.