Original rendering of the Panowicz Foundry for Innovation
September 1, 2016

LACEY, Wash. – Saint Martin’s University will celebrate the opening of the University’s inspiring new Panowicz Foundry for Innovation and the E. L. Wiegand Laboratories with a blessing and dedication ceremony Monday, Sept. 12, on the Saint Martin’s campus.

The 17,363-square-foot facility provides laboratories and design space where the University’s engineering and computer science students can apply what they have learned in the classroom to generate, test and evaluate designs, explore possibilities and gain hands-on experience as they work toward their degrees. Its name reflects the generosity of two major donors, University Board of Trustees Vice Chair A. Richard “Rick” Panowicz and his wife Pam and the E. L. Wiegand Foundation.

“This new lab building is a great addition to our engineering and computer science programs,” said University President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.  “What makes this building special is that it is a hands-on creative and technical space for our students, exemplifying what a foundry for innovation should be. We are thankful to our donors who helped make this building possible; students today and long into the future will benefit tremendously from this new space.”

The new building stands adjacent to Fr. Richard Cebula, O.S.B., Hall, the LEED Platinum-certified, cutting-edge engineering building, which has won wide acclaim since its opening in 2013 for its environmentally sustainable design. The $2.7 million foundry will primarily support academic programs within the Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering. They include undergraduate-level programs in civil engineering and mechanical engineering and graduate programs in civil engineering, mechanical engineering and engineering management, as well as the University’s undergraduate program in computer science. That program officially became part of the School of Engineering last year.

Saint Martin’s has 278 students enrolled in engineering and computer science courses at its main campus in Lacey, said Kim Van Vleet, the University’s director of institutional research. Twenty-two are enrolled in graduate programs, with the remainder in undergraduate programs, he said. 

Dean of Engineering David Olwell, Ph.D., said, “Saint Martin’s has had excellent engineering programs for decades, but the facilities had not kept up with progress in other areas. With the completion of the Engineering Initiative launched in 2011 and the dedication and blessing of the Panowicz Foundry for Innovation and the E. L. Wiegand Laboratories, we now have facilities that match the quality of our students and faculty.  Together with the new Cebula Hall, our new facilities enable us to offer great engineering education into the foreseeable future. The faculty, students, and staff join me in celebrating the generosity of our donors and alumni who made this possible!”

The foundry’s name honors the Panowicz family, which has maintained strong ties to Saint Martin’s for many years. The late A. Richard Panowicz Sr. served on the University’s Board of Trustees, and his son, Rick Panowicz Jr., has not only served as the board’s vice chair but also on many board committees. The Panowicz’ major support for the new building and Rick Panowicz’ ongoing leadership on the University’s Engineering Initiative have been important to the initiative’s success.

Just as crucial has been the support of the E. L. Wiegand Foundation. Its significant grant contributions have provided the furnishings, equipment and information technology infrastructure necessary for the E. L. Wiegand Laboratories, the specialized engineering labs within the foundry. These features are key to unleashing the creative potential of students. The E. L. Wiegand Foundation is located in Reno, Nevada, and has supported other projects across campus.

Among the features of the new facility are:

  • A senior design laboratory, which offers the tools, secure storage and workspace necessary for seniors in mechanical and civil engineering to create physical prototypes of their final senior projects.
  • A fluid mechanics laboratory, which provides space where students can experiment on liquids and gasses to determine their behavior and other factors under various conditions. The lab houses equipment such as a wind tunnel strain gauge, flow generator, a gravimetric hydraulic bench and pipe network.
  • A robotics and automation lab where the kinematics and dynamics in automated machinery can be constructed, studied and/or analyzed. The lab’s equipment includes variable output power sources, multimeter testing devices, a soldering station and various hardware devices.
  • A materials laboratory where students can test and explore the qualities of common civil engineering materials such as concrete, steel, soils and wood. Its equipment includes a static hydraulic tester, a stability tester and an automatic asphalt compactor.
  • A manufacturing processes laboratory, which enables student learning about commonly used industrial processes, quality control, manufacturing materials and numerical control, as well as space and equipment for students to plan and design a production process. It is outfitted with axis mills, lathes, drill presses, 3D printers and other equipment.
  • A state-of-the-art computer science classroom.
  • Spaces for the University’s wind tunnel and for civil engineering students to construct their concrete canoe, an annual project in which canoes are designed, built, judged and raced in regional and sometimes national competition.

Saint Martin’s first engineering programs were approved in 1940 and gained traction in the post-World War II years. For many years, Father Richard Cebula, O.S.B., an inspiring professor and a monk of Saint Martin’s Abbey, guided the programs and established their reputation for excellence.

The University’s engineering programs are rooted in the Benedictine Catholic tradition of holistic education. Saint Martin’s engineering students receive in-depth professional education, as well as a solid base in the liberal arts, graduating with a strong foundation of general knowledge to support them in their careers or in advanced engineering studies. Students enrolled in the programs have long competed successfully with their counterparts from much larger schools. Among the honors brought home by the University’s engineering students was a recent national second place finish in the PCI Big Beam Contest.

To learn more about the Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering, go to www.stmartin.edu/academics/programs-schools/school-engineering

Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washing­ton. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 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 25 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 340 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 350 more students to its extended campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at www.stmartin.edu.

For more information:
David Olwell, Ph.D.
Dean, Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering
360-688-2732; dolwell@stmartin.edu

Cecelia Loveless
Vice President, Institutional Advancement
360-412-6138; cloveless@stmartin.edu

Deanna Partlow
Interim Media Relations Manager
360-412-6126; dpartlow@stmartin.edu