Saint Martin’s announces plan to build new engineering facility

February 10, 2011

LACEY, WASHINGTON — Saint Martin’s University will be building a new classroom and laboratory facility to house its School of Engineering, Saint Martin’s President Roy Heynderickx, Ph.D., announced this evening. The announcement came at a dinner celebrating the launch of the University’s new Engineering Initiative and the formal introduction of Zella Kahn-Jetter, Ph.D., new dean for Saint Martin’s School of Engineering. The event, held at the Norman Worthington Conference Center on Saint Martin’s Lacey campus, was attended by more than 150 community leaders, engineers, and University trustees, faculty, staff and alumni.

Generating the most excitement was news of the University’s remarkable progress in raising funds for the building. Though fundraising efforts did not formally begin until tonight, the University has already raised $4.5 million in leadership pledges and gifts — nearly two-thirds of its $7 million goal.

The new building will be approximately 21,000 square feet, double the useable square footage of Saint Martin’s current engineering building, Cebula Hall. Plans are underway to seek Platinum LEED certification for the facility. The structure will complete an academic quadrangle, or “quad,” on campus, creating a much-anticipated community space for students, staff, faculty and visitors. Saint Martin’s may break ground on the new building as early as this summer.

“This Engineering Initiative is not just about a new facility,” said Heynderickx prior to the event. “It is about building on our foundation of excellence, growing a program that prepares students to be high-quality engineers who think and work with heart. With the foundation of a Benedictine education, our graduates enter the engineering field prepared to contribute to their communities.”

At the event, Kahn-Jetter described her vision for the future of Saint Martin’s School of Engineering.

“My goal is to make Saint Martin’s University School of Engineering the engineering school of choice. I want people to think, ‘I want to study engineering. I want to go to Saint Martin’s,” Kahn-Jetter remarked.

“This building can be and should be the center of collaborative efforts with our community. We should be working with local organizations and industry to help educate our students. We can collaborate on projects, internships, training and facility-sharing.”

Kahn-Jetter assumed the post of dean in January. She holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic University, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (BME) from The Cooper Union. Prior to joining Saint Martin’s, she served as professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York.

The late Father Richard Cebula, O.S.B., is credited with laying the foundation for Saint Martin’s School of Engineering six decades ago. Cebula Hall is named after the Benedictine priest and professional engineer, who served as faculty member and chair of the program. Since its inception, the School of Engineering has graduated more than 1,300 students in mechanical and civil engineering.

“Tonight is a celebration of our commitment to Father Cebula’s vision,” said Heynderickx. “The community response to our Initiative reflects widespread confidence in the University, its School of Engineering and its graduates. We are delighted to be entering this new chapter in Saint Martin’s history.”

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, Catholic, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 18 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 22 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Everett College, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College.

For further information:

Jennifer Fellinger
Vice President of Marketing and Communications
Saint Martin’s University