Breaking ground for the Engineering Education and Research Center

EERC Groundbreaking Celebration-16

With, from left, Chancellor Bill McRaven, Student Engineering Council President Anuj Kudva, and Engineering Dean Sharon Wood

Yesterday, I was honored to help break ground for our Engineering Education and Research Center. For many years this major new facility has been the dream of our engineering alumni, industry leaders throughout the state, and three successive deans: Ben Streetman, Greg Fenves, and Sharon Wood. Now it is becoming a reality.

Slated to open in 2017, the EERC will enhance our culture of innovation and transform engineering education with cross-disciplinary teaching and research. It will include:

• 430,000 square feet of open and flexible space for interactive learning and hands-on student projects
• 21st-century teaching and research labs for creating new technologies and solving real-world problems
• State-of-the-art engineering library and cafe, where students will study, collaborate and socialize
• A central location for all engineering student services, such as student life, advising and career assistance
• A new home for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Cockrell School’s largest department

My heartfelt thanks goes to the many donors and leaders who have brought us to this point. The EERC will allow our Cockrell School of Engineering to soar to even greater heights, and that will be good for all of Texas. This remarkable video offers a preview:

What starts here changes the world.
Bill Powers signature

Tillersons give $5 million for new engineering building


From left : Provost Greg Fenves and his wife, Carmel; Cockrell School interim Dean Sharon Wood; Renda and Rex Tillerson; and my wife, Kim Heilbrun, and me

Distinguished Alumnus Rex Tillerson and his wife, Renda, have pledged $5 million to help build the Engineering Education and Research Center. Rex is chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil.

Rex and Renda have been loyal friends of the University, and I’m grateful for this generous gift in support of the research, teaching and collaboration that will thrive in the EERC. Their commitment demonstrates a strong belief in our ability to educate and develop engineering leaders who will change the world.

When completed in 2017, the EERC will house advanced teaching, research, and student project spaces that will foster collaboration among students and researchers in the Cockrell School’s seven departments and across the UT campus.

Rex earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering here in 1975, and his sons, Robert and Michael, are graduates of the Cockrell School as well. He’s a member of the school’s Engineering Advisory Board and of the UT Development Board. Beginning with his first gift in 1978, Rex has been a devoted supporter of many parts of the University.

The Tillersons’ gift moves us closer to crossing the $3 billion goal line of the Campaign for Texas. Our total now stands at $2,835,369,779. Thank you, Rex and Renda!

Bill's Signature

Mulvas pledge largest cash gift of the Campaign for Texas

MDAnderson-Jim & Miriam Mulva

Last week, we celebrated the largest gift of the Campaign for Texas and one of the largest gifts in the 135 year history of the University. Jim and Miriam Mulva, already among the largest donors to The University of Texas at Austin, have pledged $60 million to UT.

The historic gift will support two critical construction projects on the campus: $20 million will support the building of the Engineering Education and Research Center and the Cockrell School of Engineering. And $40 million will support the renovation of the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Business buildings at the McCombs School of Business.

In recognition of this gift, we are dedicating the James J. and Miriam B. Mulva Conference Center and Auditorium, to be completed in 2017. And at the McCombs School, the CBA/GSB will be renamed James J. and Miriam B. Mulva Hall.

I know you will join me in thanking the Mulva family for this transformative gift. It will be exciting to watch our campus change and grow because of it, and our engineering and business students will be indebted to them for decades to come.

What starts here changes the world.

Bill's Signature




Photo by John Everett for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center