LEXINGTON – The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approved a $ 3 million donation to the College of Engineering from a former student and longtime supporter of James F. Hardymon University at the meeting of the December 14.
The donation will support the renovations and, where applicable, the expansion of a laboratory space dedicated to biomedical engineering; laboratories and classrooms for the college’s new engineering technology department; and lab space for the college’s upcoming aerospace engineering undergraduate program.
“The University of Kentucky was established to advance the Commonwealth, through discovery, economic advancement and workforce development,” said British President Eli Capilouto. “This generous donation helps fuel this mission. It further incorporates ingenuity and innovation into the distinctive experience we deliver, in our labs, in our classrooms, and in cutting-edge programs supporting fields of the future, such as aerospace engineering. We are deeply grateful for this investment which will help us build a better future for Kentucky. “
“This donation will create more than 8,200 square feet of state-of-the-art learning spaces and promote the professional development of more than 500 engineering students each year,” said Rudy Buchheit, Dr. Rebecca Burchett Liebert Dean of College of Engineering. . “The impact will be significant and immediate and will accelerate the growth of these new programs at a critical time for college and university.
Hardymon, born in Maysville on Veterans Day 1934, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1956 and 1958, respectively. He began his career with the Browning Manufacturing Company in Maysville in 1961, after two periods of service in the United States Army. He then held various executive positions at Emerson Electric before becoming CEO of Textron Inc., a $ 10 billion multi-industry global company with cutting-edge operations in aerospace, automotive, industry and finance. He retired in 1999.
“The UK College of Engineering is doing a remarkable job of educating young people to make our world a better place,” said Hardymon. “I am pleased to make this donation which directly supports student success in the college’s exciting new undergraduate programs.
The College of Engineering has launched four new undergraduate specializations over the past two years: Biomedical Engineering, Lean Systems Engineering Technology, Computer Engineering Technology, and Aerospace Engineering.
The UK has offered biomedical engineering studies since the 1950s; however, the program provided only graduate degrees and a BME minor until the fall semester of 2020. While the administrative offices of Br Joseph Halcomb III, MD Department of Biomedical Engineering occupy the fifth floor of the building of robotics and manufacturing, additional space is needed to support the rapidly growing program. So far, 180 students have declared their intention to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering.
F. Joseph Halcomb III, MD Chair in Biomedical Engineering Guigen Zhang says Hardymon’s donation will create new labs in the Grehan Building, which itself has undergone extensive renovations and reopened to support engineering training in 2020.
“We are extremely grateful to Mr. Hardymon for his generous and timely donation. These labs will provide BME students with hands-on and experiential opportunities to stimulate their interest in DIY and hone their practical skills at the interfaces of engineering and medicine. This generous donation will have a lasting impact and allow us to provide a unique and quality education to future biomedical engineers in an integrated engineering-medicine environment at the University of Kentucky, ”said Zhang.
The Engineering Technology Department, which offers bachelor’s degrees in lean systems engineering technology and computer engineering technology through a partnership with Bluegrass Community and Technical College, began its programs earlier this fall. The college’s ninth department was made possible in large part by a $ 2.25 million donation from Toyota.
Hardymon’s investment will create 4,900 square feet of classrooms and teaching laboratories and an administrative headquarters for the new department.
“This donation enables the Department of Engineering Technology to implement its vision of hands-on engineering experiences and design projects for students,” said department chair Nelson Akafuah. “This will enable students to design and create with a limitless mindset through an education focused on hands-on, project-based learning. “
Starting in the fall 2022 semester, the Department of Mechanical Engineering will begin offering courses leading to a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. The new undergraduate aerospace program will be the first in Kentucky.
Hardymon’s donation will enable the development of a hands-on lab course for all undergraduate aerospace engineering students and provide state-of-the-art facilities for students to develop experiments relevant to air and space systems. The laboratories will include a large wind tunnel to test the design and control of the cell; installations for the development of aerodynamic profiles for wind power; and equipment for testing the resilience of spacecraft hardware to vibration and vacuum environments.
“These hands-on experiences are essential in preparing our graduates for modern careers in aerospace engineering,” said Michael Renfro, department director and professor at the Tennessee Valley Authority.