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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

July 19, 2007
Susan Beasy Latto, Director, UMD Public Relations 218 726-8830
James P. Riehl, Dean, UMD College of Science and Engineering 218 726-6397

UMD Announces New Degree Program in Civil Engineering
Beginning Fall 2008

New Building Also Planned

UMD will offer a new Bachelor of Science degree program in Civil Engineering beginning Fall 2008 it was announced today by Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin and James P. Riehl, Dean of the UMD College of Science and Engineering. Plans for a new building to house the program are also underway.

According to Dean Riehl, the development of the Civil Engineering Program at UMD is in direct response to engineering personnel needs expressed by the private and public sectors in our region and the career aspirations of prospective students and their parents. Areas of focus were determined after consultation with engineering and manufacturing firms in Duluth and Greater Northeastern Minnesota.

The new program will emphasize the fields of:

  • Water resource engineering
  • Transportation
  • Structural engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering

"We intend to graduate civil engineers who have the skills and experience that employers are seeking, and who are prepared to meet the future needs of regional and statewide government agencies and industrial firms," said Dean Riehl. "Our students will be poised to contribute to the development of sustainable solutions to the pressing problems that impact our communities."

Engineering enrollment at UMD is now more than 750. "We expect to have close to 1,000 engineering students by the year 2012," predicts Professor Stanley Burns, a newly appointed Associate Dean of the College of Science and Engineering. Professor Burns is responsible for coordinating curricula, accreditation and other issues for the expanding engineering programs.

Engineering programs were begun at UMD in 1984, and currently include four (soon to be five) degrees:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

With the initial Civil Engineering freshman class starting in the fall 2008, the first class will graduate in May 2012. At full admission, the program will have approximately 200 students. UMD plans to hire eight Civil Engineering faculty for the program. The program was approved by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents at its July 11 meeting.

A $16 million building located at the North East corner of the campus is being planned to house the new program. The 34,000 gross square foot, two-story structure will adjoin Voss Kovach Hall (home of the Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering Programs) and will house state-of-the-art teaching laboratories, research laboratories, classrooms and administrative offices.

The new building will include several large specialized laboratories designed so that students will be able to have hands-on experience with large wood, concrete, and steel structures, and also gain experience with hydraulic and other distributed piping systems.

The Duluth architectural firm SJA (formerly Stanius Johnson) is the lead architect for the project. Ross Barney Associates of Chicago is the design architect. The two firms collaborated on the $33 million UMD James I. Swenson Science Building opened in September 2005.

Funding for the building is included in the University capital bonding request to be presented to the Minnesota Legislature in the upcoming legislative session. If successful, groundbreaking would take place in the summer 2008, with building completion set for September 2010.

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