Arthur Weisberg Family Engineering Laboratories dedicated
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The planned accreditation of Marshall University’s engineering program moved closer to reality today with the dedication of the Arthur Weisberg Family Engineering Laboratories on Marshall’s Huntington campus.
The $4.2 million, 16,000-square-foot facility containing the engineering laboratories, which sits across 3rd Avenue from Smith Hall, is named in honor of philanthropists Arthur and Joan Weisberg of Huntington. Signage revealing the name of the building was unveiled during today’s event.
The Weisbergs also joined Marshall’s Pathway of Prominence today. Donors who present gifts of $1 million or more to Marshall are honored with a plaque on the Pathway, which is located at the center of the Huntington campus between Old Main and the Memorial Student Center. The plaque was unveiled during the ceremony.
“This new facility is a tremendous milestone in the history of the University, and without Art and Joan, we would not be where we are today,” Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp said. “Their most recent gift has been one of the most important factors in our ability to move forward on the construction and development of the new engineering laboratories.”
In January 2006, Marshall University’s Board of Governors approved a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering (BSE), to be offered in the College of Information Technology and Engineering’s Division of Engineering and Computer Science. One of the most important steps in establishing a four-year, Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredited engineering degree is construction of new facilities.
In May 2006, the Weisbergs, owners of State Electric Supply Company in Huntington, contributed $2.5 million in support of Marshall’s Division of Engineering and Computer Science. The division was renamed the Arthur and Joan Weisberg Division of Engineering and Computer Science to honor their many years of supporting Marshall.
In December 2007, the Weisbergs increased their commitment to engineering at Marshall by expanding their 2006 pledge to $5 million. According to the revised commitment, as much of the funds as needed went toward construction of the engineering laboratories, with any remaining funds going to the Weisberg division to provide support for future needs of the program. Additional funds for the project were raised through Marshall’s Bridge Campaign.
Currently, the Marshall BSE offers an area of emphasis in civil engineering, and the new facility will house laboratories to support courses in material testing, soil mechanics, hydraulics, and environmental engineering. There also is room for expansion as the program adds other emphasis areas such as mechanical engineering.
The building also will have an electronic classroom, offices, a technician room, a balance room and a visualization lab, where simulated environments will be created for specialized training and research. The new facility provides essential resources for accreditation of the engineering program, which Marshall plans to seek in the 2009-2010 academic year.
Art and Joan Weisberg have demonstrated on many occasions their commitment to continuing education and to helping Marshall and the community grow together. They have been major contributors to Marshall for many years, supporting the Arthur and Joan Weisberg Chairs in Software Engineering and the Arthur and Joan Weisberg Division of Engineering and Computer Science. In recognition of their dedication, both Art and Joan Weisberg received Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Marshall last spring.
“Marshall is a major asset to the community,” Art Weisberg said. “Marshall is the vehicle we are going to use to keep up in the future. Huntington is a great place to start a business and raise a family. Why shouldn’t Huntington succeed? Marshall helps by training people who give back to Huntington.”
Art Weisberg said he believes that his success with State Electric, which began in Huntington in 1952 and has grown to 41 branches in five states, proves that the future is unlimited for Marshall and the community.
“I’m a hardware salesman,” he said. “Huntington people and Marshall people have been very kind to me. Why have I come this far? Hard work, dedication and believing in ideas. I started this business with no money, no future and no inventory. But I got immersed in it. In six months, I loved it.”
Joan Weisberg described the new engineering lab building as “wonderful” and important to the future of Marshall and Huntington.
“Good schools are a hallmark of a fine community,” she said. “The best thing you can do is help people help themselves at a higher economic and intellectual level. (Through the engineering program) people will be getting training for intellectually challenging and beneficial jobs.”
Dr. Betsy Dulin, dean of CITE, acknowledged the impact of the Weisbergs’ support of the engineering program at Marshall.
“With their unerring vision for the future of technology and their unsurpassed community spirit, Art and Joan Weisberg have been with the College of Information Technology and Engineering (CITE) from the beginning,” Dulin said. “Their early support for our faculty and students and the naming gift for the Weisberg Division of Engineering and Computer Science were major catalysts for the development and growth of the college. Their most recent gift enables us to pursue the next important steps of our growth, including further development of the engineering and computer laboratory components of our program in preparation for an accreditation visit next year. We’re honored and privileged to name the new facility in recognition of their generosity.”
Sen. Robert Plymale, chair of the Senate Education Committee, was the lead sponsor of legislation in 2004 that led to the restart of Marshall’s engineering program.
“The opening of this building is a defining moment in the engineering program at Marshall University,” Plymale said. “I equate this to when I was a student here and the medical school was established, and the impact it has had on the university and community. I believe the engineering school can have that same impact.”