ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 6, 2006) -- Ohio University recently received two charitable gifts to support the building of the Integrated Learning and Research Facility on the Athens Campus. An anonymous friend donated $200,000 and a civil engineering professor and his wife also made a contribution.
The gifts will support the design, construction, and acquisition of equipment for the facility, which will bring together the Russ College, the College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM) and other Ohio University colleges in a state-of-the-art facility to enhance learning, advance research, and promote active collaboration. The $30 million, 100,000-square-foot facility will unite students, faculty, staff, alumni and collaborators for learning and discovery in the 21st century.
A fondness for Ohio University inspired new Professor of Civil Engineering J. Ludwig Figueroa and his wife, Erika, to make their gift. Figueroa, who retired from Case Western Reserve University as an emeritus professor in 2004, spent the following academic year in the Russ College as a visiting Stocker chair and joined the faculty in fall 2005.
"You always strive to improve your own facilities," Figueroa said. "We wanted to contribute to the facility being developed here. I know it's going to help the college," he added.
The Figueroas also were inspired by one of the lead gifts in the campaign to raise building funds: $10 million from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. The university seeks to raise an additional $10 million to match that gift.
The building project also has received support from the university and various private donors, including $5 million committed by the Russ College and a $5 million gift from alumnus Charles R. Stuckey Jr., BSME '66, and his wife Marilyn that launched this building project. Tentatively, the facility will open in winter 2009.
In the Integrated Learning and Research Facility, proximity, specialized equipment, shared laboratory and meeting spaces, high-speed Internet, and sophisticated computer workstations will enhance and accelerate collaborative research efforts.
"The facility will promote partnerships by eliminating traditional academic silos and co-locating multidisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers working toward common research goals," said Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin.
As part of an effort to engage in more multi- and interdisciplinary research, the Russ College, in collaboration with the colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Health & Human Services, and Arts & Sciences, received approval in 2004 as one of three University Research Priority grants. As a result, the university has committed $10 million to support the biotechnology initiative over the next six years. This university endeavor, which will be housed in the new facility, will fund interdisciplinary research and clinical outreach projects, purchase of major equipment, and new faculty hires to advance basic research into commercial biotechnology products and better inform best practices in healthcare and healthcare education.
The Integrated Learning and Research Facility also will incorporate community learning and teaching spaces. Reflecting a learning-centered concept, the design is sensitive to a variety of learning styles in order to encourage individual exploration, teamwork, and conversation.
"In addition to significant healthcare outcomes, the facility and associated research projects will provide invaluable research and research training opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and medical students," said Irwin. "By working with multidisciplinary research teams, students will gain unique insights into the entire research experience, from the preliminary thesis, through discovery and development, to production and implementation."
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