ECE dedicates new building; Quinn speaks

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn proudly displays his cut of the ribbon in the Grainger Auditorium at the new ECE building on Oct. 10, 2014.

The new Electrical and Computer Engineering Building held its dedication ceremony Friday in Grainger Auditorium to showcase the finalized project to University members.

Those in attendance included Gov. Pat Quinn, University President Robert Easter, Chancellor Phyllis Wise and Provost Ilesanmi Adesida. Members of the ECE department, such as Sanders and College of Engineering Dean Andreas Cangellaris, donors and building designers also attended the event.

“This building is a true home for our department and reflects upon the values from its emphasis on hands-on learning and collaboration to its global net-zero energy of who we are and will allow us to offer our students and faculty unparalleled opportunities for the future,” said William Sanders, department head.

The dedication ceremony began with an introductory video that displayed graphics showcasing the history, foundation and layout of the ECE department and its new building.

During his speech, Quinn discussed the innovation of the new building and its potential effect on University students.

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“This special building that is a net-zero energy use building, it’s going to be one of the largest buildings on planet earth that really uses zero net energy” he said. “I think that is a real tribute to the engineering school of the University of Illinois and to the electrical and computer engineering opportunities that are going to be presented to the students who come through these doors.”

He added that the design of the building promotes collaborative learning and teaching, which he said is “an important principle that all of us must take to heart.”

Speeches of gratitude were delivered to donors that helped make the new ECE building a reality. Standing ovations and applause were delivered to the various donors, foundations and alumni that helped contribute to the project.

Sanders also thanked the Grainger Foundation and corporate partners Caterpillar, Intel and Texas Instruments.

To end the official building dedication, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held. The dedication ceremony was open to all students, faculty and staff on campus and live-streamed online for those who could not attend.

“It was very surprising that this is the ‘ECE’ building, not the so-and-so laboratory or something like that, because everything else on this campus is named after someone,” said Ian Rasmussen, freshman in Engineering. “The building as a whole I think is amazing, wandering around here. It’s going to be a good four years.”

Building tours were available as soon as the speeches and ribbon cutting were finished. They were provided every 15 minutes for those who wanted a group tour around the new facility.

“Some of the great features of the building, like the net-zero energy and I think that the state-of-the-art facilities in this building, I haven’t seen them yet, but some of the lab equipment and some of the lab facilities will be world class,” said Xuping Li, postdoctoral researcher in Mechanical Science Engineering. “I can see so many people who have made contributions, just decades of dedication to the building.”

Jane can be reached at janelee5