New center for engineering service to focus on developing communities

By Kim Chaudoin | 615.966.6494 on 2/21/2014

   
   

Lipscomb University’s Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering announced today the founding of a new center this spring to focus on missions and humanitarian projects in various communities of developing countries.

The Richard S. and Mary Ann Brown Peugeot Center for Engineering Service to Developing Communities will serve as the hub for the college’s outreach program, which is a key component of the engineering program at Lipscomb.

Since 2004, the Jones College of Engineering has taken students on more than 25 service trips to Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and the United States to complete projects such as water supply systems, construction of bridges, construction of sanitation systems, development of alternative energy sources and the creation of a remote stand-alone radio repeater station for isolated health care clinics.

 “Service to others is a cornerstone of our engineering program,” said Justin Myrick, dean of the College of Engineering. “We want our students to have a sense of vocational mission — using the skills and talents they have learned for a career to serve others. This center creates an arm of the college that focuses on these service opportunities and serves as a source of research, development and planning for sustainable projects around the world.”

“We have the ability to make an impact on the world around us using the skills that we have as engineers,” said Kerry Patterson, associate professor of engineering who will serve as director of the center. “These service projects are important enhancements to each student’s academic experience as well as improving the quality of life in the communities they serve. Conducting these projects in areas lacking in resources, enhances our students’ creativity, ability to think and act on-the-spot and ability to use the resources available to them, which will make them more innovative engineers for their future employers in America or beyond. ”

Patterson said the Peugeot Center will provide expanded service opportunities for students, foster faculty-student research, collect and analyze data about long-term reliability and sustainability of engineering designs and develop seminars on global implementation among other initiatives.

The center is named for Richard Peugeot, an electrical engineer, and his wife, Mary Ann, who committed the lead gift to the center.

“The Peugeots have been very involved in, and supportive of, our engineering mission programs,” said Myrick. “We named the center in their honor in appreciation for all they’ve done to build our engineering mission program, including personally participating in four of our engineering service trips. They are very passionate about using engineering to make a difference in the world.”

Peugeot said he looks forward to how the center will enhance the engineering mission program at Lipscomb.

“Having experienced these mission trips first-hand, I’ve seen what these trips mean to the areas served to improve infrastructure and day-to-day life,” said Peugeot. “But, what impresses me most is the growth of the young people who go on these trips. The mission emphasis at Lipscomb has given us an impact in the engineering community that we wouldn’t have otherwise. It is the heart and soul of this program. This center will help this focus to continue to grow and will help us raise funds for future projects.”

Mary Ann Peugeot said she has seen how the engineering mission program has impacted students.

“We have watched this program from the beginning and have seen the difference it has made in the lives of the students,” she said. “It’s life-changing. This program teaches them to use their skills and vocation to help others.”

Lipscomb University began offering engineering classes in the 1930s. Its mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering programs are nationally accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (http://www.abet.org). The Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering consists of undergraduate programs in electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering, along with a new program in civil engineering and a new graduate degree in engineering management. The new civil engineering program is currently seeking accreditation. For more information visit www.lipscomb.edu/engineering.