Duke Interdisciplinary Engineering Center Named for Fitzpatricks

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University’s Board of Trustees has named the Pratt School of Engineering’s new Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences (CIEMAS) for Duke alumni Michael and Patty Fitzpatrick, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Dec. 3.

The Fitzpatrick Center naming came just two weeks after the $97 million, 322,000 square-foot facility was officially dedicated at Duke. At the end of the two-day dedication program, which featured a talk on the future of technology by Michael Fitzpatrick, Brodhead told a dinner audience that he would ask the trustees to consider the naming in recognition of the couple’s “vision and belief in Duke engineering, as well as their past, present and future generosity of spirit and resources.”

The Fitzpatrick Center, which opened for classes this fall, consists of a west and an east complex, each with two buildings. The center is designed to foster interdisciplinary approaches to technology in a number of engineering fields. It doubles the Pratt School’s teaching and research space. It also provides new facilities for the medical school and the Institute of Genome Sciences and Policy among others. The buildings in the west complex have already been named the Fitzpatrick Building in honor of the couple’s support for the Fitzpatrick Center for Photonics and Communications and will retain that name.

“The vision that the Fitzpatricks and Duke share for educating students and sustaining innovation is critical for the future health, economic well-being and security of our nation,” said Kristina Johnson, Pratt School dean. “We deeply appreciate their support and are thrilled with the opportunity this affords Duke to make an impact in addressing the big problems of the world that require interdisciplinary solutions.”

Michael J. and Patricia Wyngaarden Fitzpatrick have provided substantial support to a variety of programs at their alma mater, and particularly to the Pratt School. In 2000, they made a gift of $25 million to establish a center for the study of photonics at Duke that provided the foundation for CIEMAS. They have made many other gifts to support engineering at Duke. In 2003, they established the Wyngaarden Fellowship in the Center for Genome Ethics, Law, and Policy (GELP), in honor of James B. Wyngaarden, M.D., Patricia Wyngaarden Fitzpatrick’s father and former director of the National Institutes of Health who previously served as Duke’s vice chancellor and chair of the Department of Medicine.

They also have supported undergraduate financial aid programs, Trinity College of Arts and Science and Duke’s athletics department.

Michael Fitzpatrick earned a bachelor of arts degree in business administration at Duke in 1970. He is currently a general partner in Seabury Venture Partners in Burlingame, Calif., as well as an officer of the Fitzpatrick Foundation. He has spent more than 30 years in technology, specializing in start-ups of new businesses and turn-arounds of troubled technology companies. He is the former CEO of E-TEK Dynamics, Pacific Telesis Group and Network Systems.

Patricia Fitzpatrick graduated from Duke in 1969 with a bachelor of arts degree and a major in French. She is from a family with deep Duke roots that includes her parents, brother and sister, and cousins. She is the president of the Fitzpatrick Foundation and recently completed a term on the Trinity College Board of Visitors. She also has served in a variety of volunteer positions in New York and California schools, as well as at Duke.

The Fitzpatricks live in Hillsborough, Calif.