Ribbon Cutting Marks Opening of New Engineering Labs
August 01, 2017
Angelo State University hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of the new Hunter Strain Engineering Laboratories on Tuesday, Aug. 1, at the main entrance of the new building at 2225 Vanderventer St. on the east side of the ASU campus.
Mary Louise Strain, widow of the new facility’s namesake, Charles Hunter Strain; ASU President Brian J. May; TTUS Chancellor Robert Duncan; Jamie Akin, ASU vice president for development and alumni relations; and Dr. William Kitch, chair of ASU’s David L. Hirschfeld Department of Engineering, participated in the ribbon cutting, along with surprise guest, U.S. Congressman Mike Conaway. Tours of the new facility followed the ceremony.
Construction of the new 8,500-square-foot facility was funded by an anonymous gift donated in the spring of 2014. Ground was broken in October 2016, and the ribbon cutting ceremony marks the opening of the first new academic building on the main ASU campus since the Science III Building was completed in 2005.
The opening of the Hunter Strain Engineering Laboratories also marks the latest milestone for ASU’s engineering program, which has grown to include seven full-time faculty members and more than 100 students enrolled in engineering courses. The program was initially approved by the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents in the spring of 2014.
In August 2014, ASU was awarded a five-year, $2.87 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to support implementation of the proposed new civil engineering program. The grant was awarded under the USDE’s Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions program for a cooperative project between ASU and Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde that is titled “Strengthening the Engineering Pipeline in West Texas” (STEP West Texas).
In April 2015, ASU was officially approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to begin offering a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (B.S.C.E.) degree for the fall 2015 semester.
That June, Dr. William A. Kitch, former professor of engineering at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, was named the first chair of the Department of Civil Engineering, and more than 50 engineering students began studies that fall.
In May 2016, local businessman David L. Hirschfeld and his family stepped forward with a $1 million gift to rename the Department of Civil Engineering as the David L. Hirschfeld Department of Engineering.
ASU has also received further anonymous gifts of $100,000 to purchase laboratory equipment and $20,000 to fund the program’s first endowed scholarship.