College of Engineering Receives $25 Million For New Buildings

Last Friday the College of Engineering and the NDSU Foundation announced that NDSU alumni Richard Offerdahl will be donating 25 million dollars for a new engineering building on campus. “Today is truly a momentous day for the College of Engineering…an opportunity like this comes along perhaps once in a lifetime,” said Alan Kallmeyer, the interim dean of the College of Engineering, during the announcement ceremony at the Alumni Center.

Offerdahl graduated from NDSU in 1965 with a degree in electrical engineering and has enjoyed great success, which he attributes to what he learned during his time in college. He is now giving back to NDSU with philanthropic gifts to help build up the next generation of successful students. Along with this gift to the College of Engineering, Offerdahl also gave 1.2 million dollars to establish a fellowship in the microbiological sciences last October.

Offerdahl’s gift will go towards a building in the new Center for Engineering and Computational Sciences. In recognition, NDSU plans to name the entire engineering complex after him. The Center was announced last year, and in November it was announced that it would be built with funds allocated by the North Dakota Legislature and donations from Doosan Bobcat and Mortenson.

As of November, NDSU still needed around 15 million dollars of donations to reach their building goals, so Offerdahl’s donation means that the Center now has sufficient funding to be completed. Since he has given more than the project needed to reach its goal, the construction of the Center will be completed even faster and will have more resources right from the beginning, according to a press release sent out by the NDSU Alumni Foundation.

Plans available on the College of Engineering website show that the new Center for Engineering and Computational Sciences will be built at the heart of campus where the current engineering complex is located, just north of Memorial Union. Features will include “a metal fabrication facility, wood shop, welding lab, paint booth, electronics workbenches, and extensive 3D printing capabilities,” as well as labs, classrooms, and collaborative spaces. The plans also seem to feature a skyway connecting the new buildings to the Family Life Center, though details on that section are not mentioned in the overview of the plans that the website offers.  

Investing in future engineers and computer scientists is more important than ever as the fields continue to grow and change in scope. According to the College of Engineering website, the College of Engineering is the largest source of employees for North Dakota’s engineering and computer science job needs. As such the college’s programs and facilities for engineering and computational science majors will impact the future of North Dakota by preparing them to innovate and make new discoveries once they begin their careers. “From the very beginning, we’ve seen this project as our opportunity to transform the College of Engineering and propel our college, our university, and our state into the future. The impact of this gift will be felt through generations to come,” said Kallmeyer.

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