Bryan College Cuts Ribbon on Vogel School of Engineering

5 months ago Triangle 0

Written by Mathäus Schwarzen, staff writer

Deborah and Elizabeth Cornwell cut the ribbon for the new Vogel School of Engineering on April 11. The new wing in Mercer will add six engineering labs and 10 other rooms, including the second largest auditorium on campus.

The school is still working on some areas of installation, but the wing is mostly finished. Students will be able to use $750,000 worth of equipment ranging from a wind tunnel to a 3D printer. Rows of new computers line the devoted engineering computer lab. The lights in the auditorium are controlled by a touchscreen, and the tables have outlets for charging devices during lectures.

“This is a day that we have longed for,” President Livesay said. He thanked the people who contributed to the three year process leading up to the ribbon cutting, as well as the engineers who worked to install new equipment.

“You have to have both ends of this thing—people who have vision and people who can get it done,” Livesay said.

Elizabeth and Deborah Cornwell cut the ribbon for the Vogel School of Engineering

The Vogel School is named after Bryan alumnus and donor General George Vogel and his wife Doris. The two were not able to travel to the ceremony themselves.

“My grandparents have always made my education a priority, and I’m so happy that many students are now able to benefit from their generosity as well. They make this contribution truly as an investment in each and every student,” Elizabeth Cornwell, their granddaughter said. “Our world needs engineers like you, and my grandparents’ legacy is now your legacy.”

After Provost Douglas Mann gave a prayer of dedication, the guests were free to tour the new facilities. The engineering department students waited in each of the rooms to demonstrate the new technology’s uses and answer questions.

President Livesay said that he hopes the Vogel School will equip students to be able to go into the workforce with practical experience.

“We want them involved in business,” he said. “The government wants to make sure education fits business, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re providing the students with what is needed in the marketplace.”

The college intends for the students to be capable of and responsible for operating the equipment. Each was issued an inaugural class certificate and a Vogel School lapel pin to wear after the event.

As a background and editor’s note, for Lyle Smith, Ph.D., it was the culmination of three years of effort.  As the director of engineering development, Dr. Smith worked on all aspects of the creation of the engineering program.  Expanding into this completely new arena was the brainchild of President Stephen Livesay, but he needed someone to make it happen. Smith came to Bryan with the persistent encouragement of Dr. Reggie Ecarma and hired by Dr. Kevin Clauson. With his Ph.D. in math and physics, along with a master of divinity and four years of work experience as an engineer, Smith had the credentials, capability and the drive to develop the program.  He was instrumental, along with Dr. Sam Youngs and many of the faculty and staff, in the completion of a massive document to obtain regional accreditation on the first attempt. Smith also developed much of the curriculum plans for the initial concentrations, mechanical and civil and was instrumental in the search for the founding dean, culminating in the hiring of Dr. Tom Marshall. With the work of Smith, the financing of the Vogel family, assistance of Marshall and Clauson, and the leadership of Livesay, the new Vogel School of Engineering has become a physical reality.

Mathäus Schwarzen is a die-hard Seattleite and a Creative Writing major at Bryan College. He enjoys movies, science and very deep conversations, and is very proud of his German heritage.