$2.2 million raised to date for construction engineering and management program


By Tim Schley

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Penn State recently reached $2.2 million in its fundraising campaign to reestablish a program in construction engineering and management (CEM) for civil engineering undergraduate students. The campaign seeks to raise a total of $3 million for an endowment to permanently support the program and create a teaching-focused CEM professorship.

Thirteen construction companies, located both in and outside of Pennsylvania, committed gifts to become stakeholders in the program, including 12 commitments of $100,000 each and one commitment of $250,000 from Allan Myers Inc., a heavy civil construction and construction materials company based in Worcester, Pennsylvania. Program stakeholders will have the opportunity to meet and recruit students, participate in student education activities, host events and serve on the CEM advisory board.

These gifts were matched with a $750,000 gift from The Beavers Charitable Trust, an endowment to support student education from the heavy construction industry. Once endowed, the professorship will be named The Beavers Charitable Trust and Allan Myers Endowed Professorship in Civil Construction Engineering and Management.

“The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is truly grateful for the generous support of The Beavers and our many stakeholder companies to provide this valuable educational opportunity for our students,” said Patrick Fox, John A. and Harriette K. Shaw Professor of Civil Engineering and head of the department. “Once a popular technical focus area in our department, we are delighted to reestablish the CEM program and make it even better than before. This will be a true university-industry partnership.”

Construction engineers and managers are responsible for the planning, direction and oversight of a wide variety of construction projects. Their day-to-day activities range anywhere from planning and design to contract and labor negotiations, requiring a multidisciplinary education that combines elements of engineering, management and business.

“We have an absolute need for this type of education in the heavy civil construction field,” said Robert Alger, president of infrastructure projects at SNC-Lavalin and member of the fundraising campaign team. “When we canvassed the students, a huge percentage of them wanted this option, but it was not available. We need to bring these fantastic Penn State graduates into our profession.”

At any given time, the program is expected to enroll 100 to 150 students, offering them direct interactions with stakeholders through classroom visits, guest lectures, mentoring, student clubs and internships.

“Internships have taken a key role in the recruitment process,” said Dave Woods, executive director of The Beavers Inc. and The Beavers Charitable Trust. “They give a ‘three-month interview’ to make sure a student and company are a good fit, along with giving students real world exposure to construction that will complement their academic studies.”

The reestablishment of a CEM program will help direct young talent to “one of the nation’s largest and most rewarding industries,” according to Bob Herbein, executive vice president of corporate services at Allan Myers.

“Several of our company’s best and brightest leaders are Penn State graduates,” Herbein said. “The new CEM program is important not just to our firm, but to the industry that builds America. The heavy civil construction industry is the foundation of our country and our economy. Allan Myers is honored to be a part of the establishment of this program and its future.”

As of the publication of this story, the stakeholder companies for the CEM program — listed in alphabetical order — are Allan Myers; Brayman Construction; Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc.; Insteel Industries Inc.; Jacobs Engineering Group; Kiewit Corporation; Kinsley Construction; Lane Construction; Mascaro Construction; New Enterprise Stone & Lime; Trumbull Corporation; Turner Construction; and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

Learn more about the fundraising campaign here.

Gifts to the CEM effort will advance “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hard-working students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.


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