University of Maine civil engineering students can continue to rely on the Hydraulics Lab to provide a high quality learning experience, thanks to a generous endowment from Kleinschmidt Associates (Kleinschmidt), an energy and water resource consulting firm based in Pittsfield.
The Kleinschmidt Hydraulics Laboratory Fund will ensure the Boardman Hall lab remains up-to-date and able to enhance students’ projects by encouraging excellence in the study of hydraulic engineering.
In honor of the company’s generous gift, the facility has been named the Kleinschmidt Hydraulics Laboratory. A dedication ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at 309 Boardman Hall.
The gift comes as part of Campaign Maine, UMaine’s six-year, $150 million capital campaign – the most ambitious in the University’s history.
The Hydraulics Lab helps provide the experience necessary for budding civil/hydraulic engineers to advance their knowledge in such areas as water distribution systems, waste water treatment and analysis, and design of water control structures for water supply, recreation, and hydroelectric power generation.
College of Engineering Dean Dana Humphrey says the endowment is “absolutely vital to purchase and upgrade equipment, fund student projects, improve the hydraulics curriculum and make sure students are receiving the highest quality educational experience the University can offer.”
The Hydraulics Lab complements the theory students obtain in their lectures, says Professor Eric Landis, chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.
The lab “gives meaning to the mathematical models students learn in class and enables them to develop better engineering knowledge and skills. Students look at hydrostatic forces on submerged objects, and pressure gradients in piping networks. Using the large flume they can measure the flow of water as it goes through open channels, pipes, and other structures such as dams and fish diversions.”
“A modern, well-equipped lab will be a good recruitment tool for UMaine’s engineering program,” says Dr. Jack Palmer, president of Kleinschmidt Associates. Dr. Palmer predicts that during the next decade, “there will be a real shortage of strong technical personnel. The need to encourage students to look at engineering as a career is more critical than it has ever been.”
Established in 1966 as a local engineering business, Kleinschmidt has grown into a corporation with eight office locations throughout the United States. The firm has been involved in designing hydroelectric facilities, dams and fish passage projects since its beginning. Kleinschmidt also performs environmental studies and design services for other renewable energy projects such as wind and tidal projects, and prepares licensing and permitting documents needed by state and federal agencies.
Over the years, the company has forged a strong relationship with the University by hiring graduates with degrees in civil, structural, electrical, and mechanical engineering, as well as in history, English, biology, and environmental backgrounds. Currently nearly one quarter of Kleinschmidt’s 120 employees are UMaine alumni.
“UMaine has been a valued source of technical talent for us over the years,” says Dr. Palmer.
Peter Bastien, Senior Civil Engineer and Manager of Hydro Engineering at Kleinschmidt, a UMaine graduate who joined Kleinschmidt in 2001, says his company continually looks for ways to connect with the University. “The gift to the Hydraulics Lab is one more important link. I feel as though I’ve come full circle,” he says. “It’s rewarding to work for a company that’s giving something back to the University you attended.”
Students are not the only ones who provide Kleinschmidt with a UMaine connection. The company often uses faculty members as sub-consultants on specific projects. Last year, assisted by the UMaine Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kleinschmidt worked with Ocean Farm Technologies, a Searsmont-based aquaculture company, to design the patent pending fish rearing system called the AquaPod. The project received recognition by winning an American Council of Engineering Companies Honor Award in the organization’s national engineering achievement program.
Currently, Kleinschmidt is talking with Dr. Shaleen Jain, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, about how his research on climate change might influence the company’s work in other water resources markets.
Image Description: Kleinschmidt Associates staff members include, from left to right, Mike Schimpff, and UMaine graduates Holly MacKenzie, Adam Haskell, Gary Liimatainen, Leslie Corrow, Kevin Cooley and Peter Bastien
The Frederick Hutchinson Center’s $2 million capital campaign to expand the Belfast facility has reached the halfway mark, leaders of the fundraising project announced last week.
Since the campaign began last August, $1 million in private funds – from individuals, corporations and foundations — has been raised to help create a 15,000 square foot expansion that will house additional classroom space, science labs and other facilities critical to the center’s future as the University of Maine’s primary educational and outreach connection with Mid-Coast Maine.
Campaign leaders hailed the milestone, and noted that it had been accomplished thanks to the generosity of many.
“We’re delighted to arrive at the half-way point so quickly,” said Judy Stein, campaign co-chair with Jim Patterson, retired director of the Hutchinson Center.
“This has been achieved through the hard work of volunteers and the generosity of community members,” said Stein. “The community obviously accepted the words of The Citizen’s editorial board which said that ‘it’s up to us.’”
The Hutchinson Center fundraising effort is part of Campaign Maine, the University’s six-year, $150 million comprehensive campaign.
Praising the “literally hundreds of people” who contributed to the Hutchinson Center campaign, Patterson said there has been “amazing progress to get it over the halfway point. Now we look forward to trying to finish up within the next few months.”
The total cost of the project is $4 million, with the balance coming from a bond to be repaid with future revenue generated through the center’s expanded activities.
The Hutchinson Center campaign is being aided by a Unity Foundation $200,000 challenge grant which was awarded earlier this year and matches each dollar raised from other sources.
“Everyone has been so enthusiastic and supportive,” said campaign volunteer Betty Becker-Theye. “The Hutchinson Center has been the most positive development along the Mid-Coast area in the past seven years, and residents of Belfast and other Mid-Coast communities appreciate the fact that people can complete undergraduate and graduate degrees close to home. So much of what has happened at the Hutchinson Center has been because of the University of Maine, MBNA, and the Bank of America. People know it’s now up to us to raise the money to build the expansion.”
Many of the early gifts came from the Hutchinson Center’s Senior College, which pledged $280,000, said Stein. Those contributions likely set a positive course for the campaign.
“It provided momentum.”
Senior College has raised $184,000 toward its commitment, according to Mary Frenning, co-chair of the Senior College public relations committee. The 500 current members and the more than 1,000 former members of Senior College have been solicited for contributions.
“The Hutchinson Center is our home, so we have strong feelings about it,” she said. “It will be no surprise if we hear from many more of our members when they learn that the campaign has reached its halfway mark.”
The University of Maine School of Forest Resources will be able to attract more of the best and brightest students from across the country after a 1937 forestry graduate left a $12 million bequest to establish the George L. Houston Scholarship Fund.
“This donation will benefit generations of students and enhance UMaine’s ability to serve our state in a unique and invaluable way,” President Robert Kennedy said.
Announced in September 2007, the bequest is the largest in the University’s history and will support both undergraduate and graduate scholarships that will be awarded annually.
Houston, who left his bequest through the University of Maine Foundation, died in 2007 at age 91. He was born in Bangor and raised in Brewer. An executive involved with surveying and engineering, he lived primarily in New York, but moved back to Bangor during the latter part of his life. In 1995 he donated his 217-acre family farm in Hudson to UMaine through the University’s Green Endowment Program.
Edward Ashworth, dean of UMaine’s College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture, called Houston’s gift “remarkable, not only for the level of generosity, but also for the investment in future generations of foresters and the demonstration of confidence that he has in the School of Forest Resources.”
The scholarships will attract more talented young people to consider careers in forestry, said the dean, noting that excellent students “raise the bar” and enrich the learning environment for everyone. Few university forestry programs have this many scholarships available, “so clearly this means that UMaine will continue to be the place to learn forestry.”
Professor Steve Reiling, interim director of the School of Forest Resources, said an ambitious national recruiting effort would begin immediately. Thanks to the bequest, $500,000-$600,000 in scholarships will be available each year. Depending on student need and qualifications, 5-10 undergraduate scholarships and two or three graduate scholarships could be handed out annually.
The gift “guarantees that we can continue to provide the high quality educational program and the high quality graduates needed by this industry which is in transition,” he said.
Amos Orcutt, president and CEO of the University of Maine Foundation, said even though Houston spent most of his life out of state, he continued to value the thriftiness and strong work ethic that typifies Maine people.
“He was crusty and could sound gruff at times, but he had a heart of gold and wanted to do the right thing,” Orcutt said. “Forestry and wildlife education was important to him and he loved the University of Maine.”