Texas A&M University is renowned for its engineering program, and the students of Dwight Look College of Engineering have emerged to make incredible contributions to society. Friday, November 14, the Zachry Engineering Center broke ground to be transformed into the largest academic building on the Texas A&M campus and will be known as the Engineering Education Complex.
“This new building will serve as a place for Aggie engineers of tomorrow to learn, to study, and to grow,” says Phil Adams, class of 1970 and Chairman of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. “Times have changed, technology has changed, and we must change and adapt to stay competitive. But, one thing that won’t change is our dedication to this university and the dedication that this university has to produce the best engineers in the world.”
Chancellor John Sharp, who once served as student body president during his time at Texas A&M, praised Dean of Engineering Dr. M. Katherine Banks for her vision of the engineering program. “This is a dean that decided that the cocoon all the other universities are safely ensconced in wasn’t going to exist at Texas A&M University,” says Sharp. “Just as this university is going to save the world when the next pandemic hits, we are saving the world when it comes to producing the kind of engineers that this country needs.”
Former students have contributed $58 million for the renovation, and current students have donated $1 million for the construction. At the groundbreaking event, former student and astronaut Mike Fossum spoke about the engineering program’s effect on his career. “I showed up a few years after Zachry opened its doors,” says Fossum. “I was a bright-eyed freshman with a desire to become an Aggie engineer, and with an improbable dream of flying in space.” After Fossum earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, he went on to become a NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of three space flights and has logged 194 days in space, which includes 48 hours outside of the craft in seven space walks. “Today with these shovels, we start a new chapter in the continuing story. I like to think that the Engineering Education Complex will be the launch pad for Aggies to go forth boldly to make the United States and the world a better place.”
The construction on the Zachry Engineering Center will commence in February 2015, and completion is expected by December 2016.