October 6, 2005
Industry leaders help build the future of disaster reconstruction
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Purdue University on Thursday (Oct. 6) announced funding of a faculty position to oversee a new program that will prepare students to rebuild communities affected by large-scale disasters.
Several leading restoration and reconstruction companies from around the country have come together to create an endowed professorship of reconstruction and disaster restoration in the College of Technology's Department of Building Construction Management. The faculty member in the position will be charged with developing and overseeing an academic emphasis for students who want to specialize in this area.
"Purdue is the national leader in building construction management, and this gift will help us establish the country's first education program focused on rebuilding communities that have been ravaged by disasters," Purdue President Martin C. Jischke said. "The devastation from these disasters like what has been seen in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita present special challenges in rebuilding, and Purdue will be on the forefront of meeting those challenges."
A consortium of companies that work in the reconstruction and renovation industries have pledged $1.5 million to establish the endowed professorship, which will be named at a later date.
The announcement was made at a noon luncheon in the Building Construction Management Laboratory in Knoy Hall.
The announcement is part of a two-week celebration leading up to Purdue's Oct. 15 Homecoming. Events focus on ways Purdue is improving education and helping the state of Indiana as part of the university's strategic plan and $1.5 billion fund-raising campaign.
Endowed funds, such as the building construction management gift, remain intact in perpetuity, and yearly earnings are used to augment salaries, laboratories and facility operations. A portion of the earnings is reinvested each year so inflation does not degrade the endowment principal.
The gift to the Department of Building Construction Management comes in response to a challenge from Indianapolis businessman and civic leader William E. Bindley. The Bindley Chair Challenge allots $22.5 million to match other gifts and pledges to create 15 endowed professorships at $1.5 million each throughout the university. As a result of the contribution, the College of Technology will have two new academic professorships, including one in Bindley's name.
This is the first such endowed professorship to be funded by a group of Purdue's industry partners.
"Working directly with leading companies throughout the state and the nation is central to the success of the College of Technology," said Dennis R. Depew, College of Technology dean. "We have a responsibility to our students to provide them with quality education in fields that will help them in their careers. That this group of companies is eager to contribute money to the future of their industry speaks volumes to the value and importance of disaster recovery to the industry."
Restoration and reconstruction is the latest in a series of building construction specializations at Purdue that have been among the first of their kind in the nation.
Stephen D. Schuette, head of the Department of Building Construction Management, said students in the new program will learn about many specific challenges that workers face when responding to large-scale disasters. Those challenges include dealing with building environmental concerns, building safety, and the demolition and removal of damaged and destroyed buildings. In addition, students would be skilled to work with other types of building repair and renovation.
"The College of Technology has been planning this program for more than six years with the help of a wide range of industry leaders, and although graduates from the program would be able to respond to situations like the rebuilding of New Orleans, disaster reconstruction is not the sole focus of the program," Schuette said. "The program will prepare students to face a wide range of reconstruction situations."
Schuette said the program would not have been possible without the ongoing support of industry leaders such as Advantage Marketing President Bob Bonwell, who will represent the consortium at today's (Thursday, Oct. 6) announcement.
The Department of Building Construction Management began offering specializations in demolition and health-care construction management earlier this semester. The department previously was the first to offer specializations in electrical construction management and mechanical construction management. Industry response to the program that many universities have followed suit to help fill the demand for trained workers, Schuette said.
"I anticipate the same thing happening with this segment of the industry," he said. "While many sectors of the economy have suffered, building has continued to be strong. The department's graduates enjoy 100 percent job placement, often with several job offers to choose from."
Purdue's Department of Building Construction Management began in 1946 as a non-degree program designed to teach building skills to returning World War II veterans. Since then it has grown into one of the top construction management programs in the nation, producing graduates trained in managing people, construction processes, materials, equipment and financial assets.
The College of Technology, one of the first of its kind in the country, is entering its 41st year. More than 6,000 undergraduate students are enrolled in the college's 11 Indiana locations.
In addition to building construction management, the college comprises eight departments: aviation technology, computer graphics technology, computer and information technology, electrical and computer engineering technology, industrial technology, mechanical engineering technology, and organizational leadership and supervision.
Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073, email@example.com
Sources: Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis R. Depew, (765) 494-2552, email@example.com
Stephen D. Schuette, (765) 494-2465, firstname.lastname@example.org
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; email@example.com
Note to Journalists: Journalists are invited to attend the announcement, which will take place at noon Thursday (Oct. 6) in Knoy Hall, Room B038.
A publication-quality photo is available at https://www.purdue.edu/uns/images/+2005/BCT-constructionlab.jpg
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