April 26, 2004

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Contact: Jill Hummels, School of Engineering, (785) 864-2934.

KU engineering department to dedicate new office complex May 1

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering will formally dedicate the Veatch-Robinson Office Complex with a ribbon-cutting event at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 1, in 2150 Learned Hall.

The new space came at a significant time for the department.

"It's just phenomenal," said Tom Mulinazzi, professor and chair of civil, environmental and architectural engineering. "The biggest impact was that architectural engineering moved into the department two and a half years ago. This gives us the flexibility to provide adequate office space for the architectural engineering program."

The $600,000 office complex provides the department with 3,000 square feet of office and meeting space. It honors the careers of three KU civil engineering alumni who led distinguished careers in the field: the late Nathan Thomas "Tom" Veatch Jr., civil engineering '09, master's in civil engineering '24 and co-founder of Black & Veatch; Thomas B. Robinson, civil engineering '39, former Black & Veatch board chairman; and John H. "Jack" Robinson, civil engineering '49, also a former Black & Veatch board chairman.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, KU Engineering Dean Stuart Bell and Mulinazzi all plan to make remarks during the ceremony. Family and friends of Veatch and the Robinsons are expected to attend. A tour of the new complex will be offered during the event.

Funds for the project were made possible by gifts from the family and friends of Veatch and the Robinsons to the Kansas University Endowment Association. The gifts count toward KU First: Invest in Excellence, the largest fund-raising campaign in KU history. KU Endowment is conducting KU First on behalf of KU through 2004 to raise more than $600 million for scholarships, fellowships, professorships, capital projects and program support. KU Endowment is an independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fund-raising and fund-management organization for KU.

The additional space in the Veatch-Robinson complex, with its modern and professional decor, already has created a positive impact on the department.

"It has made a tremendous difference in the morale of the faculty, staff and students," said Stan Rolfe, Albert P. Learned distinguished professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering and former chair of the department. "It's a very visible and really neat front door to the department. It's very impressive."

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