Phyllis M. Taylor commits $15 million to expansion of LSU College of Engineering
Largest private donation in the history of LSU's College of Engineering announced at campaign kickoff
LSU College of Engineering Dean Rick Koubek addresses students and alumni at the Breaking New Ground campaign launch.
Phyllis M. Taylor, LSU College of Engineering Breaking New Ground campaign co-chair, announced a $15 million gift commitment to honor the legacy of Patrick F. Taylor and accelerate the momentum of the $100 million public/private partnership to support the renovation of Patrick F. Taylor Hall and construction of a chemical engineering facility. The pledge represents the largest private donation to the College of Engineering in its history.
In 2007, LSU formally named the Center for Engineering and Business Administration building in honor of Patrick F. Taylor, who graduated from LSU with a petroleum engineering degree in 1959. He founded the Taylor Energy Company in 1979, which became the only solely owned, independent company to explore for and produce oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico. It was eventually named as one of the top 100 private employers in New Orleans due to Taylor's practice of hiring and contracting with Louisiana companies.
"From a very early age, Patrick was determined to become an 'oil man,'" said Phyllis Taylor. "The College of Engineering at LSU provided him with the education to see that ambition become a reality. Immediately after graduation from LSU, Patrick began helping others to attend college and realize their goals. I can think of no more appropriate means of furthering his desires to help others and our society than by assisting in the funding of the much needed renovation of the building known as Patrick F. Taylor Hall."
Through their private foundation, the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, the Taylors have provided countless students with the opportunity to earn a college degree. Patrick F. Taylor was instrumental in the establishing of Louisiana's Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, or TOPS. Through their efforts, similar programs have been introduced in 23 other states.
Patrick F. Taylor once said, "The way I want to be remembered is by the young people of this nation and my ties to them. I tell them that, like me, they can dream. I talk about hard work, integrity and guts. I demand that of them and they respond."
"Today's economy needs engineers now more than ever," said incoming LSU President F. King Alexander. "This project shows the significance of the role this university will play now and in the future to entice students to enroll and encourage them to stay and graduate in STEM majors. On behalf of the university, we thank Mrs. Taylor for her commitment to jump-start this project and push it to fruition as we educate generations of the future."
Launched publicly on April 20, 2013, the Breaking New Ground campaign will support the next generation of engineering education at LSU and holds great promise for a stronger College of Engineering. The campaign website, www.lsubreakingnewground.com, offers information on elevating the level of engineering excellence in Louisiana.
On Oct. 2, 2012, Gov. Bobby Jindal committed that his administration will support $50 million in capital outlay funding for the project, and the remaining funds will be covered by private donations. Donors have generously committed $25.4 million thus far toward the private funding for the LSU College of Engineering in support of the Breaking New Ground campaign.
"This $100 million public/private partnership will allow the college to bring leading-edge educational experiences to our students," said Rick Koubek, dean of the LSU College of Engineering.
The new and renovated engineering complex will include expanded, modern laboratory space for teaching, as well as translational research, enhanced and expanded space for student services, updated graduate student space, an academic support center, and dedicated capstone project space and other multi-disciplinary space for student projects. The architectural design phase will start in December 2013. Construction is slated to begin in the fall of 2014 and is estimated to be completed by the fall of 2017.
"This institution exists for the citizens of this state," said Interim LSU System President and Interim Chancellor William Jenkins. "This is a significant and epic-changing project as we look to the economic development of this state and prepare for a Louisiana of tomorrow."
The LSU College of Engineering currently confers approximately 700 bachelor's degrees per year, ranking it in the top 10 percent nationally for graduates. LSU is the largest degree-granting engineering program in Louisiana, accounting for more than 50 percent of all of the state's engineering and construction management graduates.
For more about Patrick F. Taylor, click here. For more about the LSU College of Engineering, visit www.eng.lsu.edu. For more about the Breaking New Ground campaign, visit www.lsubreakingnewground.com.