The Duke Endowment Awards $5 Million to Pratt Engineering Center

DURHAM, N.C. -- The Duke Endowment has awarded $5 million to Duke University to support programs of the Pratt School of Engineering’s new Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences (CIEMAS).

The grant was among $13.5 million in year-end gifts to the university for science, engineering and research initiatives as well as other projects. The gifts were announced Jan. 21.

The largest grants will go toward programmatic support for Duke's new multidisciplinary science facility and CIEMAS, which is under construction and scheduled to open in August 2004.

"We are extremely grateful to The Duke Endowment for its sustained and generous support of university priorities," said university President Nannerl O. Keohane. "These gifts will enable us to create much-needed science, engineering and research programs and facilities that will unite disciplines and improve teaching and research in these fields. It will also give our students new opportunities to experience the excitement of research, and continue to enhance the ways in which Duke students learn."

Expanding Duke's teaching and research capability in the sciences and engineering is an important priority in "Building on Excellence," the university's strategic plan. "Building on Excellence" was approved by the Duke trustees in February 2001.

The $97 million CIEMAS complex features undergraduate teaching and project labs, state-of-the-art research facilities, and a variety of spaces where faculty and students can both formally meet and informally interact.
The complex's west wing will house the Pratt School of Engineering's new Fitzpatrick Center for Photonics and Communications Systems, and the larger east wing will house new interdisciplinary initiatives in biomedical engineering and materials sciences.

"CIEMAS will foster further development of a culture of cross-discipline research and collaboration, particularly with the School of Medicine and Trinity College of Arts and Sciences," said Provost Peter Lange.

The new $115 million science initiative, which is receiving a $6 million grant from The Duke Endowment, will support faculty from the departments of biology, chemistry, physics and biological anthropology and anatomy. It will promote interaction across fields of intellectual inquiry, Lange. It will be housed in a facility located next to the Math/Physics building and the Biological Sciences Building, and near the Levine Science Research Center, and "should encourage collaborative teaching and research programs and greater interaction between and among faculty and students," Lange added.

Lange, the university's senior academic officer, said the new building "will feature state-of-the-art research and teaching laboratories appropriate for conducting 21st-century research and for training students in emerging fields such as genomics, biological chemistry, physical biology and bioinformatics."

The Duke Endowment gift will also provide $1 million for the Center for Genome Ethics, Law, and Policy, a core component of the university's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy. The center seeks to foster ethically responsible and socially beneficial uses of genome science through research, teaching, and public discussion.

The Duke Endowment gift also provides $700,000 to the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership; $500,000 for expenses incurred during The Campaign for Duke, the university's $2 billion fund-raising campaign; and $300,000 to restore the Aeolian Organ in Duke Chapel.

"The Duke Endowment tends to prefer to use its funds for programs rather than for buildings -- for scholarships for students, books for libraries, and support for faculty," said Elizabeth H. Locke, Ph.D., president of The Duke Endowment. "This year, however, our trustees made an exception because the need is extraordinary. If the buildings and labs aren't built and modernized, the faculty and students won't be able to do their work.”

The Duke Endowment, based in Charlotte, was started in 1924 by industrialist, philanthropist and Duke University founder James B. Duke. Today, it is one of the nation's largest foundations. In 2002, The Duke Endowment awarded more than $118 million to agencies and organizations in the Carolinas.