On March 19th, Governor Michael Leavitt visited the SCI Institute for a bill signing ceremony that marks the launch of an ambitious initiative to double the number of engineering and technology graduates over the next five years. The law provides funding for new faculty, pay increases, student loans, and infrastructure improvements. Most notably, it provides $15 million in matching funds for the construction of a new engineering building as well as $5 million for remodeling of the current Merrill Engineering Building. The new building will go directly north of the MEB. Gerald Stringfellow, the dean of the U of U College of Engineering, will be challenged to raise an additional $13 million in order to get the funding. Surrounded by students and some of the state's top political leaders, Gov. Leavitt discussed the importance of the new law. “This initiative is an essential step toward accelerating Utah's growth as a technology center,” he said. “It will help employers who face a critical shortage of engineers, and it will provide high-paying jobs for our children.”
Darby Brown, a student research assistant at the SCI Institute, spoke before the congregation about the opportunities and experiences the Engineering Scholars Program has given her. “It provided me with a first hand research experience which is very unique to an entering freshman.” she said. “This program made my freshman year at the University a huge success and got me excited about being an engineer.”
The new funding and ambitious goals promise to make the next few years an exciting and challenging time for engineers and the University of Utah.