It’s hard to believe the fall semester has already come to a close, but the latter half of 2019 has been an exciting time for Auburn Engineering.
In July, our country celebrated the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest accomplishments in human history — landing on the moon. In this issue, we tell the stories of several Auburn engineers who played significant roles in making the launch and landing possible, along with how the college will once again play a vital part in getting the U.S. back to the moon — and beyond — in the next five years.
One of the most anticipated events in the college’s recent history happened in August, as we opened the doors to the $44 million Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center. Thanks to the generosity of John and Rosemary Brown, and more than 50 other alumni and friends of the college, we now have one of the most comprehensive engineering student support facilities in the country. This state-of-the-art building is now home to our recruiting and scholarship office, K-12 outreach, advising, a tutoring center, the Engineering Academic Excellence Program and our newly formed Career Development and Corporate Relations office, which has changed the game in the way we connect students with potential employers. In addition, the creation of the Carol Ann Gavin Garden where the old shop buildings once stood has created an oasis for our students in what I feel is the most beautiful and tranquil spot on campus. The garden sits atop more than 44,000 square feet of instructional space, including the Wind Tunnel Laboratory and space for future build-out.
Also in August, we broke ground on our $22 million Advanced Structural Testing Laboratory. This cutting-edge laboratory will include a unique geotechnical chamber that will allow our faculty and students to perform testing and research that, up until now, has only been possible in the field. In addition, a wind testing facility will allow replication of the dynamic wind loads caused by extreme weather events on large-scale specimens, thus increasing the lifespan and safety of structures. In turn, the research conducted in this facility will not only advance our state, region and country economically, but it will also help save hundreds to thousands of lives from natural disasters such as the deadly tornado we experienced here in Lee County in March.
Lastly, we were honored this fall when we received the latest U.S. News and World Report’s Best College’s rankings, which placed our undergraduate program at 29th among all public engineering institutions. This peer-conducted ranking system is a reflection of how others have taken notice of our upward trajectory. This ranking is a direct result of the work, hard work, of our students, faculty and staff. And while this accomplishment is worthy of celebration and recognition, we must press on and continue to enhance what we feel is the best student-centered engineering experience in America.
Indeed, it is an exciting time to be a part of Auburn Engineering. I congratulate our newest Auburn Engineering graduates and can’t wait to see how they add to the immense talent we have placed in the American workforce as they go out and change the world.