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The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s new building set to open this fall will be named the George B. Duke Engineering and Information Technologies Building to recognize Duke for his longtime support of and service to the campus.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the naming at its meeting Friday, Feb. 25, in Pittsburgh.
“We are deeply grateful to George for his longtime commitment to and support of our campus,” said Rick Esch, Pitt-Bradford’s interim president. “Naming our new engineering and information technologies building in his honor is a fitting tribute to George, who has been a steadfast supporter of many campus initiatives, including technology.”
Last month, Duke, who is chairman and sole owner of Zippo Manufacturing Co., pledged a $2 million gift, dedicated largely to equipping state-of-the-art engineering labs in the new building. Additionally, Zippo, at Duke’s direction, previously contributed $1 million to support the computer information systems and technology program, which is one of the academic programs that will be housed in the new building. These commitments follow decades of philanthropic support from Duke.
In addition to his donations to Pitt-Bradford, Duke has served as a member of Pitt-Bradford’s Advisory Board since 2000. Since that time, the campus has seen significant growth, including the addition of many new academic programs, the successful completion of two capital campaigns and the construction of several new buildings.
“Pitt-Bradford has played such a vital role in the Bradford community for many decades,” Duke said. “With the addition of this engineering and information technologies building, this will offer an even broader appeal to students looking to attend Pitt-Bradford.
“We look forward to the strong relationship there will be between Zippo Manufacturing Co. and the students in the development of their engineering degrees.”
The new building, adjacent to Hanley Library, will serve as the campus’s headquarters of innovation. The building will house two new engineering technology majors — mechanical engineering technology and energy engineering technology — as well as existing programs, computer information systems and technology, energy science and technology, and information systems.
It also will meet Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) standards, and it is anticipated that the U.S. Green Building Council will certify it at least at the silver level. The new facility will feature a solar array on its roof, which is expected to produce about 113,000 kWh per year and include a building dashboard that will aid in community education and engagement.
In addition to the solar array, the new George B. Duke Engineering and Information Technologies Building will provide specialized spaces for students studying engineering and technology including:
- A circuit lab with bench space for soldering, function generators, analog and digital microcontrollers, spectrum analyzer and oscilloscopes.
- A measurements lab where students will be able to work with sensors and automation in a space containing programmable logic controllers, wireless sensing hardware, ultrasonic flaw detectors and more.
- A machine shop with computer-controlled plasma cutter, CNC milling machines and lathes, variable speed drill presses, band saws, machine presses, disc and belt grinders, welders and rapid prototype machines. Students will be able to create prototypes, then test them in the strength and materials or fluid dynamics lab.
- A strength and materials lab where students can test, measure and destroy their creations by pulling, pushing and hitting them with a compression and tension tester and a dynamic fatigue tester as well as testers for impact, hardness and torque.
- A fluid dynamics lab with a wind tunnel, table-top fluid process automation system, Rankine cycler and more.
- A maker space featuring 3D printing and scanning for rapid prototyping to be shared with the information technology program.
- An expanded Systems, Networks and Projects (SNAP) Lab to enable students to practice setting up small computer and data operation centers.
- A flex lab to give students the space they need to gather data, perform analyses and create virtual and scaled prototypes for new products and services.
- A virtual reality lab equipped with a presentation platform and a large screen on which students can present projects as well as an 18-foot-high ceiling to allow for hanging sensors and cameras.
The building also will feature a light-filled two-story atrium, study rooms and a project lab for students from different disciplines to collaborate, inspire each other and make their designs a reality.
A formal dedication of the George B. Duke Engineering and Information Technologies Building will be held later in the fall.
“We’re very excited to see this building completed and witness the amazing projects our students will be working on in it,” Esch said. “Providing our students with this headquarters of innovation will give our students the unique educational opportunities that will help them develop the skills they need to infuse our communities with exciting ideas and advancements.”
— Pat Frantz Cercone