Texas A&M to dedicate new engineering building

April 21, 2005
| By: Aubrey Bloom

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Dignitaries from Texas A&M University and The Texas A&M University System as well as movers and shakers of the state's petrochemical industry will be on hand tomorrow (April 22) at 11 a.m. when Texas A&M Engineering dedicates its newest facility, the Jack E. Brown Engineering Building. The seven-story, 205,000-gross square-feet facility -- constructed at a cost of $38 million -- is located at the corner of University Drive and Spence Street. The structure opened to students in January and includes state-of-the-art laboratories, classrooms, seminar and conference rooms, faculty offices and administrative headquarters for the newly named Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering. "This new facility will secure Texas A&M's place at the forefront of chemical engineering teaching and research and, on behalf of the entire university, I thank Mr. and Mrs. Brown for their generosity in helping to make this day possible," Texas A&M President Robert Gates said. "It is my hope that, for many years to come, those who work and learn here will see his name on this impressive building and be inspired by his dedication to his profession and his alma mater, and his many contributions to the future of both." Lead donors Frances and Jack Brown will be honored at the ceremony along with other founding contributors for their support of the new building. A formal portrait of the Browns, which graces the first-floor lobby, will be unveiled, and each founding contributor will receive a personalized memento. Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering G. Kemble Bennett, chemical engineering Department Head Kenneth R. Hall and AIChE student President Michael L. Adams will join Gates and Erle Nye, vice chairman of the A&M System Board of Regents, in honoring the building's founding contributors. "Jack E. Brown is a true Texas success story, and we are proud to recognize his contributions to the Dwight Look College of Engineering by naming this incredible new building in his honor," Bennett said. "Jack and Frances Brown embody the Aggie spirit and through their generous support of Texas A&M, they are ensuring generations of future Aggies receive a top-notch education in one of the finest facilities available." The architecturally distinctive building has safety features that go beyond those customary for academic construction. Classrooms and computer laboratories are on the first floor, and departmental offices as well as the TEES Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center are on the second. The remaining five floors contain research laboratories that will handle approximately $5 million in research for 2004-05. These include a shared equipment laboratory for materials research and a floor of clean rooms. In development is a supercomputer cluster, which currently includes 100 Apple G5 nodes (200 processors) and links to a similar setup at Texas A&M-Qatar to provide international supercomputing. The department will continue adding G5 and other nodes in the future. Jack E. Brown, Class of 1946, holds degrees in petroleum engineering and mechanical engineering from Texas A&M and is a principal in Wagner and Brown Ltd., one of Texas's largest independent oil and gas producers. He and his wife, Frances, are longtime supporters of Texas A&M Engineering. Their generosity to Texas A&M includes the lead private gift toward construction of the Jack E. Brown Engineering Building and numerous other endowments including the Jack E. and Frances Brown Chair in Engineering. Other founding contributors to the building included the late Ernest A. Baetz, Jr., Class of 1947; Ray B. Nesbitt, Class of 1955; T. Michael and Olive E. O'Connor; and Gene L. Tromblee, Class of 1970. Also BASF Corp., The Dow Chemical Co., Fluor Corp., Rohm and Haas Co. and The Shell Oil Co. Foundation. Building benefactors include Bechtel Foundation; Michael J. Ginty, Class of 1979; Robert H. Schas, Class of 1944; Norman J. Tetlow, Class of 1966; and Bruce Warren. Established more than 50 years ago, Texas A&M's chemical engineering program emerged in the last quarter-century as a national leader for chemical engineering research, now ranking in the top 10 nationwide based on annual expenditures. Its undergraduate and graduate programs are nationally ranked at 18th and 25th, respectively. The department's fall 2004 enrollment was 471 undergraduate and 131 graduate students. Texas A&M chemical engineering graduates are heavily recruited (887 interviews by 127 employers during the 2003-04 school year) by the petrochemical and refining sectors and a variety of other industries including semiconductor, food processing and paper. Facilities named for Brown Building contributors

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