Michigan Tech Board of Trustees Approves 5-year Capital Outlay Plan

Board Approves Plan
Board Approves Plan
Human-centered research and education will be the focus of a new H-STEM Engineering and Health Technologies Complex.

At its regular meeting on Friday, October 14, 2016, Michigan Technological University’s Board of Trustees approved a five-year state capital outlay plan including three projects: phase one of a H-STEM engineering and health technologies complex; integrated student maker spaces; and phase two of the H-STEM engineering and health technologies complex

The plan and project request will be submitted to the State of Michigan, as required by law. This is the first step the University must take in order to request funding for construction and renovations.

Phase one of the H-STEM engineering and health technologies complex is estimated to cost $39.6 million, of which Michigan Tech is requesting the state pay $29.9 million or 75 percent.  The other 25 percent is the University’s responsibility.  If approved, phase one—which would include drafting of blue prints and leveraging state funds for additional funding gifts for naming opportunities—would start in 2018.

Human-centered Research, Education

The complex will support Michigan Tech’s integrated educational programs that apply engineering and science to problems related to the human condition.  The University’s unique technological niche places Tech in an ideal position to contribute to human-centered research, development and education for its students by developing therapeutic devices, sensors, instruments, preventive strategies and a health technologies-related workforce. The complex will permit teams of researchers and students from Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Computer Science, and Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology to work together in flexible lab spaces with shared equipment.

Human-centered research at Tech is already supported by the American Heart and Lung Associations, Gerber Foundation, Portage Health Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and National Science Foundation, among others.

"Current economic projections indicate that demand for technological innovations related to the way that humans interact with technology, as well as human health, is going to grow substantially,” said President Glenn Mroz.  “The large proportion of research funding from industry speaks to how Michigan Tech continues to focus on the needs of industry and the ways those change through time."  

The Board also heard that women’s enrollment at Michigan Tech is at an all-time high this semester, with steady upward movement in undergraduate female enrollment. This year, women make up 27 percent of the University’s enrollment, an increase of more than 5 percent since 2005. “This puts us on track for females to make up 40 percent of our student body by 2045, which is our goal,” said Les Cook, vice president for student affairs and advancement.

Research expenditures have also gone up 4.2 percent, from $69.6 million last year to $72.5 million this year, Vice President for Research David Reed told the Board.

Michigan Tech and the Michigan Tech Fund have received a clean report from their external auditor, Andrews Hooper Pavlik.  A clean audit indicates the financial stability of the University.

Medals, Service  Awards

In other action, the Board:

  • Voted to award the Melvin Calvin Medal of Distinction to John Opie, a Michigan Tech alumnus, retired vice chairman/executive director of General Electric and a longtime generous donor to the University.  The Melvin Calvin Medal of Distinction is the highest honor Tech can bestow on individuals who have exhibited exceptionally distinguished professional and personal accomplishments.
  • Agreed to award the Board of Trustees Silver Medal to John L. Drake and Norbert J. Verville Sr.  The Silver Medal is presented to individuals whose personal and professional achievements make them outstanding examples to Tech’s more recent graduates. Drake earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Michigan Tech. He founded Drake Manufacturing in 1972. He has served as a Michigan Tech Fund director and life trustee and has been inducted into the Michigan Tech ME-EM Academy.  Verville, also a Tech alumnus, began his career as a cost accountant with Bucyrus-Erie and retired from the company as vice president of finance and treasurer. He is a Michigan Tech Fund life trustee and has been inducted into the Michigan Tech Business Academy.
  • Voted to give an honorary doctorate to Keith Creagh, a forestry alumnus who now heads the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Creagh will be the Commencement speaker in December.
  • Recognized three employees for their long years of service to the University: Bruce Pletka—39 years; Carl Vilmann—37 years; and Donald Beck—36 years.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.