UMES Dedicates new Engineering & Aviation Science Complex

Henson Foundation donates $1 Million to UMES

PRINCESS ANNE, MD —The Richard A. Henson Foundation, in the enduring philanthropic spirit of its namesake, continues to support the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), this time with a $1 million gift for the Henson Honors Program.

“When Richard Henson stepped onto the campus of UMES more than 30 years ago, he saw a diamond in the rough and felt that revitalization was a necessary and obtainable goal,” said Donna Altvater, the foundation’s executive director.  “Before his death, in answer to the question of what was his proudest accomplishment, he said, ‘UMES!  They have become a jewel in the crown of the University System of Maryland.’”

The announcement was made at a dedication ceremony for the university’s new $103 million, 166,000 square foot Engineering & Aviation Science Complex.

The building, which opened for classes earlier this year, is “designed to expand cross-disciplinary research aimed at addressing the world’s critical problems and workforce demands in emerging areas such as unmanned aerial systems, renewable energy, radio spectrum sharing and access, advanced materials and nano-technologies,” said Veronique Diriker, UMES’ director of development.

The gift from the foundation, named for the late philanthropist who pioneered commuter air travel in Maryland, brings to $7 million in support the university and its students have benefited from over the past quarter century.

Most of the funds have supported student scholarships to Henson Leaders, Scholars and Entrepreneurs—programs that focus on producing entrepreneurial-minded graduates in business and science, technology, engineering and mathematics—at the university, Diriker said.

“The purpose of today’s gift is to take UMES’ Richard A. Henson Honors Program to the next level and create a program of national and international distinction,” Altvater said.

Dr. Michael Lane, UMES’ honors program director, said the funds will be used for student scholarships, expanded training for faculty to teach honors courses, development of innovative honors offerings, implementation of a required senior thesis, student participation at professional meetings and providing academic credit for study abroad opportunities.

The Henson Foundation gift is the second $1 million gift the university has received this year.  On July 19, Delmarva Power, an Exelon Company, announced its support and the launch of UMES’ Green Collar Initiative—a series of energy conservation projects to educate students and produce an existing workforce knowledgeable about “developing a sustainable workforce for a sustainable world.”

Delmarva Power Delmarva Power representatives were on hand to join university officials in the announcement of the building’s achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification (new construction) and an unveiling of the company’s logo in the atrium to signify its being named after the power company.

“Delmarva Power believes in the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and what it is capable of accomplishing in the study and research of all aspects of energy,” said John Allen, the utility company’s regional vice president and chairman of UMES’ Board of Visitors. “The company is humbled by the university’s gesture to recognize us in this way.”

UMES’ newest classroom building is equipped with the latest—and above state and national energy codes—energy efficient features, such as:

  • 250 geothermal wells provide heating and cooling; there are no conventional boilers or chillers
  • A lighting control system monitors occupancy and natural lighting and automatically adjusts light fixture output
  • Economizers on the HVAC system limit mechanical tempering and increase outside air during favorable conditions to reduce pump and fan requirements
  • Skylights have automatic electronic shading that change the glass tint from clear to semi-opaque
  • Elevators produce regenerative energy on braking
  • Undulating landscaping provides catch basins for storm water management and improves run-off water quality.
  • Water-efficient fixtures, Energy Star appliances and low mercy lamps are found throughout the building

The dedication served as the opening event in the Mid-Atlantic Higher Education Business & Research Conference, “Leveraging Sustainable Partnerships,” co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce and UMES.

—Source: University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Photo credits: Gail Stephens
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