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Multi-Million Cash Gift Bestowed on University of New Mexico’s Engineering School

Bigstock-Vintage-brass-telescope-on-ant-44347372A $3 million gift is the largest ever received by the School of Engineering and will be used for important improvements at the school, thanks to the estate of Dana C. Wood.

Students and faculty in the civil and mechanical engineering departments at The University of New Mexico School of Engineering will benefit from a $3 million gift from the estate of an alumnus, which will be used to create exceptional, cutting-edge laboratories and learning spaces.

University of New Mexico issued a press release, “$3 million gift from alumnus to benefit School of Engineering.”

“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Wood family for these gifts,” said Christos Christodoulou, Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing. “They will benefit the school and students in several important ways and will go a long way toward enhancing our reputation among peers and prospective students.”

Half of the gift, $1.5 million, will go toward a 7,000-square-foot space in the Farris Engineering Center that will be dedicated to the UNM Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) program. It will be named the Dana C. Wood FSAE Racing Lab. The gift for this program will enable it to gain more space for designing and building the racecar that annually competes in an international contest.

Another $500,000 is earmarked for the Department of Civil Engineering to upgrade a 4,600-square-foot structures and materials lab, as well as the civil engineering computer lab. The lab will be named the Dana C. Wood Materials, Structures and Computer Lab, and the funds will be used to create state-of-the-art lab spaces in 3D concrete printing and computer-aided design (CAD). an additional $1 million will be used to create an endowed position within the Department of Civil Engineering, which will be named the Dana C. Wood Chair for Advanced Construction Materials and Technologies. The position and funds will be used for advanced construction and materials technologies, including 3D concrete printing.

Wood was a native of Gallup, New Mexico. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1977 and a master’s degree in 1990, both in civil engineering from UNM. He died after a long battle with cancer in 2013.

Wood helped develop one of the first CAD programs for civil engineering. He helped write the software that was sold to other engineering firms in the U.S. and eventually rose to lead Diginetics. He also developed other software and launched a company with offices in Albuquerque and Los Angeles.

The $3 million gift is not the first from the Wood family. They had donated $150,000 to be used for a scholarship in the School of Engineering. They also donated a large gift to the center where Wood had received treatment, The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Reference: University of New Mexico (March 14, 2018) “$3 million gift from alumnus to benefit School of Engineering”

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