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Featured articles

Renovation, addition set for ME building

The Chancellor and the FutureTruck

Polymer Engineering Center receives NSF recognition

GM gives Engine Research Center $500,000 grant for clean fuel studies

Two ME professors win NSF early career awards

Mini-Baja team battles rain/mud at nationals

Formula team races to second-place finish in national competition

ME alum elected to top engineers group

Regular features

Message from the chair

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Message from the chair

Neil A. Duffie

Neil A. Duffie
(14K JPG)

We've finished another academic year, but in many ways, the Department of Mechanical Engineering is about to enter a new era.

We soon will begin renovation of our building, parts of which date to the 1920s. It is a building that has served us well through the decades; many of you fondly recall the drafting tables and T-squares that once formed the foundation of an engineering degree.

But just as engineering training has changed dramatically in the decades since our building was constructed, so, too, have our physical requirements. Our work today requires state-of-the-art laboratories, modern classrooms, and improved research space for our faculty and students.

So we plan to embark on the first major overhaul of our building since it was constructed more than seven decades ago. The "sawtooth" section of the building — a machine shop that dates to the early 1920s — will be torn down to make way for a three-story addition. Current office and laboratory space will be modernized. Researchers will have first-class facilities to conduct their work. This will, in turn, allow the Department of Mechanical Engineering to continue to attract top students to our programs.

The timing of the addition and renovation is critical. With the opening of our new next-door neighbor — the Engineering Centers Building — the college has room to temporarily house our programs during the renovation and building expansion. This is a one-time opportunity that provides our department with a unique window to launch a needed upgrade in its physical space. I've been meeting weekly with COE Dean Paul Peercy and design architects to help ensure that the building plans meet our research and teaching needs.

The project is not inexpensive. It will cost $33 million. But thanks to the state of Wisconsin's public-private partnership program, $23 million of the addition and renovation costs will be borne by the state. We need to raise $10 million, and we are moving toward achieving our fundraising goal. But opportunities still exist for alums and friends of the department to donate to this effort. In fact, laboratories, auditoria and other Mechanical Engineering Building facilities can be named for donors. Please also visit: and for details on the ME Building addition, renovation and donor opportunities.

In other news, we've had great successes this past year with our faculty and students. Two of our newest professors — Tim Shedd and Xiaochun Li — were named as recipients of the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Award, one of the highest honors an early career faculty member can receive. Our Polymer Engineering Center landed designation by the NSF as an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center. Scott Sanders, a highly regarded teacher and researcher with degrees from Stanford University, joined our faculty this past fall, and works with our Engine Research Center. Two new faculty have accepted positions for next year and we continue to search for new faculty.

Our student research groups continue their fine work on projects such as the FutureTruck, the SAE Formula Racing Team, and the Mini-Baja competition.

The coming year will be a busy one for the department, as we prepare to (temporarily) leave our home. We know when we move back it it will be an improved one. I'll keep you posted on our progress.

Neil A. Duffie
240 Mechanical Engineering Building
1513 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706-1572

Tel: 608/262-9457
Fax: 608/265-2316


ME News is published twice a year for alumni, students and friends of the ME department.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering
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Date last modified: Monday, 08-Jul-2002 10:18:00 CDT
Date created: 08-Jul-2002

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