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Anonymous donor gifts $375,000 to Rutgers School of Engineering for new facility

The donation will fund the creation of a new building that will primarily house the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, but will not replace existing engineering buildings. – Photo by

An anonymous alumnus donor has recently committed up to $375,000 in a matching, dollar-for-dollar gift toward the School of Engineering’s creation of a new facility for the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering.

Thomas Farris, dean of the School of Engineering, said that he is thankful for the donation.

“We are so grateful to receive this dollar-for-dollar challenge gift which we hope will build momentum for the project and inspire others to join this important effort,” he said. “This generous donation from a School of Engineering alumnus demonstrates the value our graduates place on paying it forward to benefit future generations of Rutgers students.”

Diane Reed, director of communications and marketing for the School of Engineering, said that the new Engineering Phase 2 Building will house the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and its faculty, as well as faculty from other departments. The new building, which will not be a replacement for the Engineering Building, will feature an updated wet lab and dry lab space which could not be created in the original facility, she said.

The 73,000-square-foot expansion will also have lots of space for interdisciplinary research and will be capable of housing many research collaborations, Farris said. Additionally, the open and shared nature of the facilities is designed to encourage collaboration among students, faculty and research staff, and the wide range of teaching labs will assist in hands-on learning.

Reed and Farris said the facility itself is part of the School of Engineering’s long-range precinct plan, and a feasibility study was created and conducted prior to the donation.

Currently, the building is in phase one of the design process, Farris said, and their goal is to have full funding for the project and a completely renovated facility by 2024. He said he hopes this project will keep the School of Engineering on track after the opening of Richard Weeks Hall of Engineering in 2018.

“The addition of modern, state-of-the-art facilities provides our students with the environment to prepare for exciting careers and our faculty to bring exciting research to life,” Farris said.

Helen Buettner, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, said that she is also excited about the creation of such a modern facility, and is specifically interested in seeing how it will amplify both education and research in the department as well as how it will benefit students.

Both Farris and Buettner said they are looking forward to seeing the project support the needs of the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering by providing modern facilities for students and faculty.

“This gift from a generous alumnus puts us on the path to a new home for (the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering) that will expand cutting-edge learning experiences for our students and enable us to continue groundbreaking research in pharmaceutical and life sciences engineering, energy and sustainability,” Buettner said.

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