Oshmans and National Instruments give major gifts to Rice for engineering design

first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: B.J. AlmondPHONE: 713-348-6770E-MAIL: [email protected] and National Instruments give major gifts to Rice for engineering design facilityStudents from different disciplines will gain collaborative experience needed for the business worldWith a $2.4 million gift from Rice University alumnus and trustee M. Kenneth Oshman ’62 and his wife, Barbara, Rice is creating a facility where different types of engineering students can collaborate on projects just as they will in the real world. The Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen will provide a space for undergraduate students majoring in civil engineering, bioengineering, mechanical engineering, statistics, chemical engineering, materials science, environmental engineering, computer science, computational and applied mathematics, and electrical and computer engineering to combine their expertise on practical assignments. To create the full circle of real-world experience that has societal impact, the George R. Brown School of Engineering plans to extend the opportunity to study design to students in humanities, social sciences, architecture and business.   National Instruments (NI) also made a major corporate gift to Rice for a large area of the design kitchen that will be used for assembling projects — the National Instruments Design, Prototype and Deploy Lab. “We are very grateful to Ken and Barbara Oshman for helping realize a new vision for engineering education at Rice,” said Rice President David Leebron. “Their farsighted and generous gift will enable us to take another step in producing some of the world’s most creative engineers and assuring that the Brown School continues to attract the best students from across the globe. Rice also deeply appreciates our longstanding partnership with National Instruments. Their support of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen reflects their commitment to helping educate extraordinarily talented young engineers.”By collaborating with different types of engineers, students develop multiple perspectives on how to pursue a project.  For example, a team of bioengineering and mechanical engineering students at Rice is trying to design and construct a prototype refrigeration device that can be used in ambulances to transport temperature-sensitive drugs needed to treat heart-attack and stroke patients. The coolers currently available on ambulances require too much electrical power to run continuously while the ambulances are in transit.  Projects like this will be undertaken in the new design kitchen.“Barbara and I are delighted to provide this critical educational experience for engineering students at Rice,” said Kenneth Oshman, who received a B.A. and a B.S. in electrical engineering from Rice in 1962 and 1963, respectively. “I am delighted that undergraduate students will have the opportunity to experience the real world in the classroom as part of their routine educational experience at Rice, and I am excited about the products and ideas that might find their genesis in this collaborative environment.”Kenneth Oshman is chairman and CEO of Echelon Corporation, a networking company in San Jose, Calif., that provides products and systems that can monitor and save energy, lower costs, improve productivity and enhance service, quality, safety and convenience by connecting everyday devices to each other and the Internet in utility, building, industrial, transportation and home control systems. Tens of millions of smart devices based on Echelon’s products and systems benefit consumers and industry around the world. Before Oshman joined Echelon in 1988, he co-founded ROLM Corporation and served as CEO, president and director until it was acquired by IBM in 1984. He served as vice president of IBM until 1986. Prior to that he did applied research in nonlinear optical technologies and systems for Sylvania Electric Products.A recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Rice University, Oshman also has M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his “outstanding innovation and engineering of digital-computer-controlled, private-branch telephone systems.” He is currently a director of Sun Microsystems and a member of the Rice Board of Trustees.Barbara Oshman received a B.A. in 1962 from the University of Texas. She has a long history of involvement in civic and philanthropic activities. Currently she is a board member of Communities in Schools/49ers Academy, an academic program for at-risk students of middle-school age in Menlo Park, Calif., and a trustee of the San Jose Museum of Art, where she serves on the Collections Committee and co-chairs the Director’s Council. She also serves on the President’s Council on Outdoor Art at Stanford University. The new facility at Rice that will be named in honor of the Oshmans will be housed in Hicks Kitchen, which was originally the central food-service kitchen on campus and is now used for storage. The 12,000-square-foot building is being renovated and expanded to create space for a large-group classroom, a machine shop, an etching room with a wet lab, a computational area, rooms for a 3-D printer, PC milling machine and laser cutter, a plotter and copy room, conference rooms, office space and the large assembly lab funded by NI. “National Instruments is committed to investing in innovative engineering education initiatives that combine practical knowledge and classroom theories with real-world applications,” said Ray Almgren, vice president of academic marketing at NI. “We consider the vision of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen at Rice to be a pioneering example of how industry and academia can work to provide a project-based learning experience to better equip our engineers of tomorrow.”NI, headquartered in Austin, Texas, develops software and hardware intended to transform the way engineers and scientists design, prototype and deploy systems for measurement, automation and embedded applications. The company has more than 4,300 employees and direct operations in nearly 40 countries.  For the past eight years, Fortune magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.When the new design kitchen opens in fall 2008, Rice’s School of Engineering will be on a path to require its students to have a significant design experience as part of their education. In addition to collaborations among the different engineering departments and schools at Rice, the School of Engineering plans to expand the program to include collaborations with institutions in the Texas Medical Center and external businesses. “The design experience is both a compelling mechanism for integrating deep knowledge of engineering fundamentals with practice and an unparalleled opportunity for students to learn how to function on a team,” said Sallie Keller-McNulty, dean of engineering.Anzie Gilmore, project manager for the renovation, said the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen will meet LEED standards for sustainable design. The side of the building along Campanile Road will have a long picture window revealing the work taking place inside. “The space is designed to be open and inviting, which will encourage student collaboration,” Gilmore said. last_img

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