University of Maine Foundation announces largest capital gift in UMaine history

An anonymous gift of $10 million from the family of a University of Maine engineering graduate has been committed to help construct UMaine’s Engineering Education and Design Center, according to UMaine President Susan J. Hunter and University of Maine Foundation President Jeffery N. Mills.

This is the single largest capital gift in UMaine history, bringing UMaine’s Vision for Tomorrow campaign to over $148 million of the $200 million goal, Mills says.

“This investment builds on the remarkable growth and success of UMaine engineering, one of our seven Signature Areas of Excellence,” Hunter says. “We’ve seen a 70 percent growth in undergraduate enrollment in the College of Engineering since 2001. The Engineering Education and Design Center will help the College of Engineering expand its capacity to help meet student demand and Maine’s need for engineers.

“In addition to thanking our anonymous donors, we also thank the State Legislature and Governor LePage for investing $50 million toward the construction of this much-needed facility,” Hunter says.

In December 2017, the team of WBRC Architects Engineers, based in Bangor, and Ellenzweig of Boston was selected to design the new Engineering Education and Design Center (EEDC) at the University of Maine, proposed to be up to $80 million.

On March 5, 2018, the University of Maine System Board of Trustees approved acceptance of the $10 million gift, which includes a naming option.

Approval by the UMS Board of Trustees of the full design and cost estimate of the Engineering Education and Design Center is planned by fall 2019, with groundbreaking anticipated in spring 2020 and completion by fall 2022.

The donors wish to remain anonymous at this time, preferring to focus attention on the critical need to build an interdisciplinary academic environment to help educate engineers who will be prepared to innovate solutions to the world’s most complex problems.

“The University of Maine College of Engineering produces two things: graduates who are ready to work and contribute to Maine’s economy, and new ideas and technologies needed to move Maine’s economy forward,” says Dana Humphrey, dean of the College of Engineering. “We are truly grateful to the anonymous donors, as well as for the College of Engineering’s Advisory Board, alumni and friends who have advocated for, and who are generously investing in, this facility and our students.”

UMaine has up to a 99 percent placement rate for engineering graduates in careers or graduate school. The demand for engineers is illustrated by the 1,450 job postings for engineers in Maine from June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016.

The center’s new laboratories and classrooms will focus on team-based, hands-on experience to prepare graduates for engineering careers. The additional space will support modern, interdisciplinary approaches to teaching, and room for groups to work on senior capstone projects.

President Hunter has made the planned Engineering Education and Design Center her highest capital priority for UMaine’s Vision for Tomorrow Campaign. Members of the College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board, alumni, friends and corporate donors have collectively contributed an additional $1 million in gifts and pledges toward the construction of this facility to date.

Up to $19 million remains to be raised toward EEDC construction.

For more information about giving to the University of Maine, contact the University of Maine Foundation, 207.581.5100.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745