It’s amazing to look back on the past year as we begin the summer semester. We continue to reach new milestones in the growth of the quality of our programs, our faculty, our students and our facilities. We just dedicated the pavilion area to Broun Hall, the result of a generous gift by Dorothy Davidson in honor of her husband, Julian, and we expect the new Gavin Laboratories to be finished as you’re reading this magazine. On top of that, the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center is on schedule for completion this time next year.
Over the A-Day weekend we celebrated the generosity of John and Rosemary Brown in making this expansive new building a reality, and thanked the donors who took part in naming the various facilities within the building. Their significant donations will bring our students new opportunities in advising, mentoring and job placement, as well as design areas and places to meet and collaborate with friends. While these projects are new and exciting, so too is our drive to bring new faculty to our engineering campus.
Over the past three years we have welcomed nearly 80 new faculty on board, and it has been a game changer. At this year’s Alumni Engineering Council meeting I opted to bring a new faculty member from each department to speak to our engineering leadership, and the response was phenomenal. In every instance, these young faculty brought enthusiasm, focus, intellect and innovation to the table. They demonstrate the promise of our future.
We continue to innovate in our curriculum, with a special emphasis on meeting the needs of today’s engineers to stay abreast of their field through online learning. Our efforts in this area, already ranked 15th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, have grown with the introduction of a Master of Engineering degree, a broad-based offering that will be useful to a wide range of engineering professionals, as well as a Master of Engineering Management degree, geared to professional advancement. We have also added a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering degree to respond to the threats our nation is now encountering in information technology and computer infrastructure.
Finally, our students continue to excel. For example, chemical engineering’s Jihyuk Kim and Mina Narayanan in computer science have been named as honorable mentions in the Goldwater Scholar competition, and Jill Joffe, who graduated in aerospace, will attend Purdue as an NSF graduate research fellow to study anti-terrorism efforts in combatting improvised explosive devices. Finally, Matthew Rogers, a senior majoring in software engineering, has been named as a Rhodes Scholar and will be studying at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
In fact, many of our students have brought awards and distinction to Auburn Engineering this year. These bright and talented scholars also demonstrate the promise of our future. Part of their success lies in the efforts of our alumni who support them, and we thank you for that. More than anything else, the success of our students is the reason I come into the office in the morning. As an alum, a supporter or a friend of Auburn Engineering, I hope their success invigorates you as well.
Christopher B. Roberts