Gov. Quinn comes to UI for groundbreaking ceremony

Over 100 people came to watch Gov. Pat Quinn break ground for the new Electrical and Computer Engineering building on Friday. Quinn praised the University for its innovation and the building for its environmentalism.

“(The building) takes folks who may be working alone somewhere in this campus and puts them together, and that kind of sharing of talented people can result in great things,” Quinn said.

Quinn and others who spoke, including University President Michael Hogan, Chancellor Phyllis Wise and Dean of the College of Engineering Ilesanmi Adesida, praised several innovations that have come out of the University, such as advances in MRI technology, LED lighting and the integrated circuit.

“In Illinois, our state, we want to feed the world, we want to fuel the world and we want to heal the world, and we know how to do it,” Quinn said. “We have the minds that can collaborate and cooperate and work together at this great institution to make it happen.”

Quinn also praised the building’s energy efficiency, saying it would have net zero energy use. Hogan said the building will be the world’s largest net-zero building. The University will pursue a LEED platinum certification, the highest a building can be rated in energy efficiency.

“We’re gonna show the world and certainly show our nation what energy efficiency is all about,” he said.

While introducing Quinn, Hogan praised the governor’s commitment to education and the University, also noting that “his predecessor wasn’t that helpful.”

Hogan also said the electrical and computer engineering department is the largest and most respected on campus with over 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students and is frequently ranking in the top five in the nation.

“We can never be content … to rest on our laurels no matter how richly deserved they may be,” Hogan said. “If we do, our hard-earned legacy of excellence will fade away as quickly as vinyl records and the Betamax. … Even the facility itself, the very building, will enhance our reputation as a pioneer pushing for a better tomorrow.”

Others at the event talked about Phyllis Wise and her first week as Urbana campus’ chancellor. Department head of electrical and computer engineering Andreas Cangellaris said he hopes every week of Wise’s chancellorship is as groundbreaking as this one.

Wise herself said she enjoyed her first week and praised the building for its ability to bring different people together.

“(The building) combines learning, discovery and engagement through all of its activity, through all of faculty and all of the students,” she said. “It works very well with other colleges and schools in Urbana-Champaign and in Chicago and in Springfield and well beyond the state of Illinois.”