'A Hub for Discussion, Integration of Ideas, Innovation and Discovery'

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From left, Maryland Engineering Dean Samuel Graham, Jr., A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation President and CEO Joe Del Guercio, UMD President Darryll J. Pines, Stanley R. Zupnik, Maryland State Sen. Guy J. Guzzone, UMD Senior Vice President, Provost Jennifer King Rice, and engineering student Miranda Pierce '23 all celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking for Stanley R. Zupnik Hall. Photo by John T. Consoli

The University of Maryland hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking yesterday for Stanley R. Zupnik Hall, an interdisciplinary engineering building that will play an integral role in the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s efforts to attract and develop leaders who help solve some of the world’s most pressing issues and impact society for the public good.

“Just like Stanley Zupnik and A. James Clark, the engineering students who are studying on our campus now and in the future will go out and shape the world in lasting ways,” said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. “They will design and create the roads we travel, the buildings we work and live in, and the infrastructure and technology we rely on. Their accomplishments will not only change the lives of people in this room or on campus right now; they will also change the lives of future generations.”

The state-of-the-art building, to be located across from the new E.A Fernandez IDEA (Innovate, Design and Engineer for America) Factory on Stadium Drive, will feature spaces for students, faculty, and institutional partners to collaborate, with specialized labs for connected autonomous vehicles and intelligent infrastructure, as well as virtual, interdisciplinary research and instructional labs, a seminar classroom, and conference and meeting space.

The building is named in honor of Zupnik, a 1959 UMD alum and Majestic Builders president and CEO, whose $25 million commitment to the university is helping to make the building possible. The majority of his commitment will go toward long-term support for academic programs within the building once complete, and a portion will help fund the building’s construction. Major funding for Stanley R. Zupnik Hall is made possible by a partnership between the state of Maryland and the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation’s Building Together: An Investment for Maryland.

“In this world of instant gratification, engineers are gratified by their contributions to society and finding ways to make the world a better place. It is part of what makes engineering such an honorable profession,” said Zupnik. “It is my hope that this new space will make it easier to exchange ideas, conduct interdisciplinary research and collaborate, and be a hub for discussion, for integration of ideas, for innovation, and for discovery.”

Stanley R. Zupnik Hall will house elements of multiple disciplines and organizations, including the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Quantum Technology Center, and identity-based student organizations such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Black Engineers Society.

“With the addition of Stanley R. Zupnik Hall to our campus, our already stellar engineering curriculum will become even stronger by bringing together different departments and centers,” said UMD Senior Vice President and Provost Jennifer King Rice. “Projects such as this are critical to giving tomorrow’s engineers the experiential and collaborative learning experiences that they need to properly prepare for their careers.”

“Engineering brings together great minds—people with different backgrounds and perspectives, looking at the same challenge in different ways—to collaborate on solutions that serve humanity. We are excited about the game-changing collaborations that will occur in Stanley R. Zupnik Hall,” said Clark School Dean Samuel Graham, Jr. “Mr. Zupnik’s gift will help grow our engineering ecosystem and offer our students, faculty, staff, and external partners access to unique facilities that will enable their innovations and impact on society.”

Additional speakers at the event included A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation President and CEO Joe Del Guercio, Maryland State Sen. Guy J. Guzzone, and engineering student Miranda Pierce ’23.

This building will help the Clark School meet its goals for growth, sponsored research opportunities, and economic development of the state and region while enabling the university to recruit and retain world-class faculty. Its undergraduate programs were recently ranked 22nd in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

This story first appeared in Maryland Today.

Published November 11, 2022