As I walked down the Ginn Concourse and through the Carroll Commons early this morning, I enjoyed chatting with students and faculty about their upcoming final exams and their plans and aspirations for the summer term. It was hard for me to believe that the spring semester had already approached its close here in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.
It also made me think that this academic year has been a particularly exciting time to be a member of the Auburn Engineering family. This excitement stems in part from the addition of several brilliant new faculty members, the startup of several new and innovative research and education programs, and the anticipation of new world-class facilities whose construction is now under way.
This year we broke ground on three exciting new facilities: the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center, the Gavin Engineering Research Laboratory and the Davidson Pavilion, which will serve as an addition to Broun Hall. These projects total more than $60 million in new construction and renovation, thanks to the generosity of benefactors John and Rosemary Brown, Charles and Carol Ann Gavin and Dorothy Davidson in honor of her husband, Julian.
These projects will help to redefine our engineering quad in a way we could only have imagined just a few years ago. I cannot overstate how important these new additions will be in shaping the way we educate our next generation of Auburn engineers.
The dynamic change that our new faculty brings is just as important. This amazingly talented group is actively engaging our students in meaningful work in a setting that promotes collaboration and innovation. Simply put, their efforts are vital to our overall mission of preparing our graduates to anticipate – and meet – tomorrow’s engineering challenges.
This influx has allowed us to also further improve our student-faculty ratio, creating a more student-centered experience. Frankly, this has been of utmost priority to me as dean, and I feel strongly that this particular change will allow us to assume our place among the best engineering institutions in the nation.
When I reflect on our vision of providing the best student-centered engineering experience in America, I am grateful for another hugely important asset – the unwavering support of a loyal alumni base that shares our values and aspirations. As you look through this magazine, I hope you are able to sense the level of achievement our faculty and students display, and why our mission is so important. Auburn engineers are amazing people – and I am proud to be among them.
Christopher B. Roberts