Ronald and Eileen Weiser donate $1.25M for UM-Dearborn’s new $90M Engineering Lab Building project

October 5, 2017

New facility will advance engineering education

Mark Schlissel, Ronald Weiser, Tony England, and Daniel Little stand in front of a podium holding the Weisers’ gift for the ELB.
U-M President Mark Schlissel, Regent Ronald Weiser, CECS Dean Tony England and Chancellor Daniel Little announce the Weisers' gift in support of the new Engineering Lab Building.

University of Michigan-Dearborn announced a $1.25 million donation from University of Michigan Regent Ronald N. Weiser (BBA ’66) and Eileen L. Weiser (MMus ’75) in support of the new $90 million Engineering Lab Building (ELB) project. This gift, the largest to the project to date, represents a major investment in the facility—a signature building on campus that will transform engineering education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the university.

With its expected opening in fall 2020, the new ELB will include cutting-edge teaching labs designed to facilitate entrepreneurial problem solving, encourage multidisciplinary cooperation in the context of 21st-century engineering instruction and provide students with new collaboration and project spaces.

“We are grateful to the Weisers for their leadership gift and the vision and commitment it demonstrates to the future of engineering education at UM-Dearborn,” said Daniel Little, chancellor, University of Michigan-Dearborn. “This project will advance our academic programs and research capabilities, while placing our campus on a trajectory to sustained growth and excellence for generations to come.”

“This new facility will attract even more talented and dedicated people to the college to work on ground-breaking research and high-level, industry-relevant academic programs,” said Ron Weiser. “Because UM-Dearborn produces engineers who stay in Michigan, the university is a catalyst for the continued development of R&D capabilities in our region. The new ELB will be a source of pride not only for this campus but for the entire University of Michigan.”

In recognition of the donation, UM-Dearborn will name the Weiser Family Atrium, a space for student and faculty collaboration, project work, presentations and industry showcases.

Above: A rendering of the new ELB with an outside view of the atrium.
Above: A rendering of the new ELB with an outside view of the atrium.

“This new facility advances the mission of the University of Michigan. It represents our commitment to outstanding engineering research and education for the benefit of our students, communities and industries throughout the region,” said Mark Schlissel, president, University of Michigan. “We are grateful to Ron and Eileen Weiser for their leadership commitment to this important project and their longstanding support of the university.”

In addition to student education, the ELB will provide opportunities for advanced pioneering research partnerships with industry. Leading-edge laboratories include power engineering, cybersecurity, human factors and robotics, and bioengineering. And it will allow for expanded K-12 and community outreach efforts, with a focus on women and minorities.

Designed by SmithGroupJJR Detroit, the $90 million project was initially approved in June 2016. One third of project funding will come through the state of Michigan’s capital outlay budget, one third from bond financing, with the remainder coming from individual, corporate and university support.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2018. Once completed, the new ELB will include 123,000 square feet of space—57,000 square feet of renovation and 66,000 of new building construction.

About Ron and Eileen Weiser

Ron and Eileen Weiser are long-time donors to the University of Michigan, currently serving as vice chairs of the Victors for Michigan campaign. They support a range of range of programs and initiatives, including the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies, the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia, and the Health System's Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center. In addition to serving as a U-M Regent, Ron is a member of the advisory board of the university's Food Allergy Center. Eileen has served on the University Musical Society Board of Directors and is a member of the UMS Senate.

Professionally, Ron is the founder of McKinley Inc., a national real estate investment company in Ann Arbor. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Slovak Republic from 2001-04. Eileen is a past executive director of the McKinley Foundation and served eight years on the National Assessment Governing Board. She is in her second, eight-year term on Michigan's State Board of Education and has served on numerous other civic boards.

About UM-Dearborn

Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan-Dearborn is a metropolitan university serving southeastern Michigan, committed to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement. The university has over 9,300 students pursuing more than 100 bachelor's, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business, education and health. A top-ranked university with a faculty devoted to teaching, and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn has been shaped by its history of partnering with local leaders and communities, and is committed to finding solutions for the challenges that face the region.

The Weiser gift supports the ELB as part of the Victors for UM-Dearborn campaign, which is raising funds for student support, educational initiatives, learning environments and faculty support. To date, campaign has raised $36 million, with more than $20M dedicated to student assistance including 100 new scholarships. For more information about the campaign, or to make a gift to the ELB, visit the Giving website or call 313-593-5130.