Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation Donates $10 Million to Colorado State University for Engineering II Building

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Level 3 Communications Chairman Walter Scott Jr., a Colorado State University alumnus and one of the nation’s most respected corporate leaders, with his wife, Suzanne, have committed $10 million for the construction of Engineering II at Colorado State, which will house interdisciplinary energy, environment and health programs.

The $69 million, 122,000-square-foot building is being built at the southeast corner of Laurel Street and Meridian Avenue.

A groundbreaking ceremony to honor the Scotts and other donors – including students who agreed to raise their own fees for the construction – will be at 4:30 p.m. today in the parking lot immediately north of Green Hall.

Scott is a civil engineering alumnus and longtime supporter of the College of Engineering. For 29 years, the Walter Scott Jr. Scholarship Endowment at Colorado State has provided about 18 students a year with financial support.

“This incredibly generous gift from the Scotts to Colorado State University will have a lasting impact on our students in the biomedical, energy and environmental programs in engineering,” said President Tony Frank. “We are grateful for the Scotts’ passionate support of this unique learning model and their commitment to excellence in engineering education. The Scotts, other private donors, and our students recognize Colorado State University is home to one of the finest engineering programs in the country – a major force in the creation of jobs, preparing a skilled and educated workforce, and working in partnership with business and industry in support of a healthy and adaptable state economy.”

Additional support for the building has been supplied by the Gates Family Foundation and Denver residents and CSU alumni Don and Susie Law, who provided $500,000 in initial funding for architectural design. With their gift, the college will open the Don and Susie Law Student Success Center in the new building to provide students a place for advising, career development and other support programs. The Gates Family Foundation was impressed with the unique interdisciplinary research model and committed $1 million to the project.

“Don and Susie Law took a chance and made a gift to CSU that allowed us to start the design process for Engineering II. Without their support, we would not have been able to move forward. Our own CSU students made a long-term commitment to excellence by funding $30 million through new student facility fees. And the Scotts have made an investment in this college that, like the Scott scholarships, will affect students for generations,” said Sandra Woods, dean of the College of Engineering.

“The students who voted to spend their student fees on this building have the vision today that their peers will require state-of-the-art buildings and training for their careers,” Woods said. “Our students have been very thoughtful and helpful in planning this project, which will provide a new opportunity for students and faculty in various disciplines to work side-by-side to solve important problems.”

Unlike most engineering colleges, which construct buildings for each discipline, Colorado State’s new building will focus on solving global challenges through interdisciplinary collaboration, Woods said.

About 40 faculty members will move into the building from other buildings on campus in the following areas:

• Biomedical engineering,
• Bioanalytic devices (such as sensors to detect tuberculosis or cancer),
• Synthetic biology (to solve problems related to the environment, health and energy), and
• Environmental engineering.

The building will also house offices for the School of Biomedical Engineering, which encompasses faculty from four colleges across CSU’s campus. Students and faculty in biomedical engineering programs are working on cutting-edge as diagnostic tools to more rapidly detect tuberculosis, quicker wound-healing materials and joint implants that integrate more effectively into human tissues.

Also included in the building’s design are a 130-person auditorium, multiple classrooms, design studios (where students work in teams to solve specific problems), and teaching laboratories for biomedical, chemical and environmental engineering. The building will also include a 24-hour study space for all CSU students.

University officials plan to construct the new building to LEED Gold standards.

With the consistent decrease in state funding for CSU, the university relies more than ever on donors to invest in its future by investing in its outstanding students and faculty. A rapidly growing university, CSU is improving learning resources and opportunities, renovating historic buildings and constructing state-of-the-art facilities to meet the needs of an expanding, high-tech campus community.

As a land-grant institution, Colorado State University is dedicated to providing access to higher education. CSU is committed to recruiting and retaining the best and brightest faculty and providing them the tools to perform cutting-edge research to solve some of the world’s most devastating problems.

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