OSU Dedicates New Ch.E. Building

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  • E D U C A T I O N

    GOOD EXPERIENCE. Usable, existing equipment, such as this triple-effect evaporator, was transferred to the new building by the Ch. E. class of June 1960

    Engineering had its day at Ohio State University last week, with chemical engineering in the spotlight. OSU's new $2.4 million chemical engineer-ing building was dedicated; the fol-lowing clay was devoted to the Seventh Annual Conference for Engineers and Architects (AEC Day).

    Both events featured outstanding guest speakers, including Dr. Jerry McAfee, a Gulf Oil v.p. and president

    OSU Dedicates New Ch.E. Building This $2.4 million unit is the first to be built in Ohio State University's $12 million revamp of its engineering facilities

    of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Sidney D. Kirkpatrick, OSU alumnus and consulting editor to Chemical Engineering, Dr. Melvin De Groote, v.p. of Tetrolite Co., and B. F. Goodrich Chemical's new presi-dent, Harry Warner. The latter two spearheaded key committees of OSU's development fund.

    The new chemical engineering building boasts facilities for 400 stu-dents, twice the capacity of former quarters, and gross area totals nearly 81,000 square feet. The five-story lab space has steel grating floors, which simplify installation or rearrange-ment of multistory lab equipment. There are 50 labs, including 13 in-dividual labs intended for 35 graduate students. Also available are special labs such as nuclear engineering, mass transfer, and thermodynamics. All facilities are geared to train chemical engineering graduates to levels of abil-ity required by industry today, says Dr. Joseph H. Koffolt, chairman of OSU's chemical engineering depart-ment.

    The new building is the first to be dedicated under OSU's 10-year, $12 million engineering building program. Electrical engineering got a new build-ing in 1949, the first new one for engi-neering since 1924 (when chemical

    engineering moved from the "black hole" to the "snake pit," which it just vacated). But in 1954 OSU launched a building program with emphasis on chemistry and chemical engineering.

    Preliminary planning for the chem-ical engineering building started in late 1955. OSU's board of trustees approved plans in September 1957, and ground was broken in January 1958. The building was completely occupied in January 1960.

    Today, the new building houses all of chemical and petroleum engineering and part of metallurgical engineering. The next building phase will complete metallurgical and add ceramic engi-neering, mining engineering, and min-eralogy. Additional cost of this phase is about $2.5 million, with completion scheduled for 1963.

    Equipment Needed. But a new building was only part of the need at OSU's chemical engineering depart-ment. No department in the college of engineering needed additional equipment as badly as chemical engi-neering, says Dr. Koffolt. "We have emerged from industrial and wash-tub chemistry to chemical engineering." The transition has been marked by de-mands from industry for higher qual-ity graduatesa demand that can only be met by having the finest training

    e l ^ n ^ C?m P^e r a h e n e W f a d , i t y W a S built from commercially available kits by OSU chemical engineering students. Dr. A. Syverson (right) and Dr. R. S. Brodkey guided the project

    44 C & E N M A Y 9, 1960

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  • facilities available, Dr. Koffolt says. "Ancient" best describes the equip

    ment used by OSU's chemical engineering department until today. But $180,000 worth of it was in good condition. Dr. Koffolt put the cost of equipment needed by his department at $1 million, leaving a deficit of $820,000. Of this, OSU allocated $370,000 for basic equipment, and educational discounts accounted for about $50,000. Deficit: $400,000.

    Grads, Industry to the Rescue. Dr. Koffolt turned to OSU's chem engineering grads for $115,000 and to the chemical industry for the balance. His appeal to alumni was simple: Make OSU's chemical engineering department "the best in the world." To industry, Dr. Koffolt pointed out: A chemical company invests $20,000 to $25,000 in each new employee; and industry's contributions to education should reduce this cost by producing better trained chemical engineers.

    Response from both alumni and industry, says Dr. Koffolt, has been "very gratifying indeed"more than $100,000 has been contributed. A large percentage of OSU's chem engineering grads have donated, and more pledges are coming in. Besides money, industry has contributed equipment such as a distillation unit, an infrared spectrometer, a pilot plant mixing and agitation kit, and pumps, blowers, distillation columns, and the like. And not to be outdone, the class of June 1960 dismantled, moved, and set up equipment in the new building, thus saving OSU about $100,000 in moving expenses and gaining for the students perhaps $200,000 worth of experience, says Dr. Koffolt.

    "Jewels" Honored. ACE Day gave Dr. Koffolt's "jewels"OSU's chem engineering graduatesa chance to evaluate the new facility, with speeches, tours, and technical sessions on tap. And one of the "jewels"Dr. Edward E. Slowter, vice president of Battelle Memorial Institutewas one of five engineering college graduates to receive a "distinguished alumnus" award. Since 1954, OSU has used this award to pay tribute to its outstanding engineering alumni. Only fitting, said Dr. Koffolt of the honor paid Dr. Slowter, for as organization chairman of the Alumni Committee of 100 for Engineering, Dr. Slowter played a big part in making the new chemical engineering building a reality.

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    EDUCATIONOSU Dedicates New Ch.E. Building