Brauers’ generosity to support engineering for years to come

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton announced that the University has received a major commitment from Stephen and Camilla Brauer to help implement the long-range, strategic plan of its School of Engineering & Applied Science.

Camilla and Stephen Brauer in front of a rendering of the engineering building that will bear their name. The building is scheduled for completion in 2010.

The commitment was made in the form of a challenge grant, which will match all gifts and commitments from alumni, parents and friends — up to the maximum of the commitment by the Brauers — which are earmarked for support of the annual and long-term needs of the engineering school. These include scholarships and fellowships, research, new and ongoing academic programs and initiatives, the annual fund and construction and renovation of physical facilities.

“Steve and Kimmy Brauer are two of St. Louis’ and America’s most distinguished citizens,” Wrighton said. “They have been steadfast friends of Washington University for many years, and through their leadership, generosity and service, they have left an indelible imprint both on the University and the School of Engineering.”

This fall, ground will be broken for the second building in a new complex for the engineering school, located near the northeastern perimeter of the Danforth Campus. Wrighton announced that the building will be named in honor of the Brauers to recognize their longstanding devotion to and impact on the University.

“We will be honored to have the Brauer name associated with the University and the school in such a prominent way,” he said. “I think this is a most fitting way for the University to recognize all they have done.”

Wrighton said that since Stephen Brauer joined the Board of Trustees in 1991, he has championed the goal of accelerating Washington University’s ascent among the world’s premier universities and building a leading engineering school.

“The University has benefited greatly from Steve’s wisdom and experience,” Wrighton said. “As vice chair and now chair-elect of the Board of Trustees and chair of the School of Engineering’s National Council, he is helping guide the long-term, strategic planning process that will set the direction for both the University and the school as we work to address the challenges facing society in our fast-changing world.”

Stephen Brauer, former U.S. ambassador to Belgium, is chairman of Hunter Engineering Co., a leading manufacturer of computer-based, automotive service equipment for the global market, headquartered in St. Louis. Camilla Brauer is a leading figure in local cultural and civic organizations and has been recognized nationally for her volunteer work as a fund-raiser.

“Kimmy and I are proud to be so closely associated with Washington University,” Brauer said. “The University’s growth and its rise in reputation in the last 20 years have been truly remarkable. We believe the School of Engineering has terrific potential both for Washington University and for society; as well, it can be a catalyst for economic development in the St. Louis region. We are happy to add our support to its success.”

When the Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Hall is completed in 2010, the 150,875-square-foot facility will serve as home for the School of Engineering’s Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering (EECE), provide space for the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy & Sustainability (I-CARES) and share facilities with the University’s highly successful Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Led by Pratim Biswas, Ph.D., the Stifel and Quinette Jens Professor of Environmental Engineering Science, the newly created EECE’s faculty is focusing its research with industrial partners on environmental engineering science, energy systems and chemical engineering and is educating students to address global challenges in those areas and environmental public health.

I-CARES is directed by Himadri Pakrasi, Ph.D., the George William and Irene Koechig Freiberg Professor of Biology in Arts & Sciences and professor of energy in the School of Engineering & Applied Science. I-CARES is a major initiative that encourages and coordinates University-wide and external collaborative research with other regional research institutions into biofuels and other alternative energy applications.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering, which was created in 1997, is chaired by Frank Yin, M.D., Ph.D., whose relationship with the Brauers extends back 10 years to the time when he was installed as the first Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering. The department now enrolls approximately 40 percent of engineering students, and, in just one decade, it has become nationally recognized as one of the top biomedical engineering departments in the country.

“We recognized that to be successful in attracting leading, research-active faculty and superb students to the School of Engineering & Applied Science, people who can help us realize our vision to establish Washington University as a hub for environmental and energy research, education, innovation and action, we must have the physical facilities supportive of and commensurate with this ambition,” said Salvatore P. Sutera, Ph.D., senior professor of biomedical engineering and interim dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

Brauer Hall will connect with Uncas A.Whitaker Hall, home of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, on all three levels of its east facade. It will present a seamless quality to those within the two structures to create an extraordinary physical presence on the northeast side of the Danforth Campus.

The architectural firm RMJM Hillier was chosen because it specializes in laboratory design and historic preservation.

The new building will embrace the Collegiate Gothic style so characteristic of the campus, and which harkens back to the original buildings that form the Brookings Quadrangle — an architecturally rich blend of academic, ecclesiastical and palatial design spanning five centuries.

In addition to state-of-the-art research and instructional laboratories, classrooms and specialized teaching areas, several conference rooms, faculty offices and numerous student work spaces, Brauer Hall will house office suites for the Dean of the School of Engineering and for the EECE department and its chairman.

An innovative feature of the new facility will be a 90-seat distance-learning classroom — the first of its kind at the University — that will be available for use by all academic departments and schools. Biswas said this classroom will be invaluable for communicating with EECE’s research partners throughout the world.

It also will be used by students in a new doctoral student network to be launched soon to exchange ideas related to their research.

Facing south, the main entrance to Brauer Hall will lead into a sunlit lobby that can double as a reception area, much like the atrium entrance in Whitaker Hall.

All of WUSTL’s recent construction projects have been built with environmental sustainability in mind, and this building also is being designed as a green structure according to LEED specifications for a gold rating.

LEED, the acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a nationally accepted rating system for the design, construction and operation of buildings that use its specifications for achieving environmental sustainability.

The company Stephen Brauer heads, Hunter Engineering, was founded by his stepfather, Lee Hunter, an automotive engineer — and Automotive Hall of Fame inductee — famous for his inventions, which revolutionized the automotive service industry. A native St. Louisan, Lee Hunter attended Washington University, served on the School of Engineering Task Force in the 1980s and was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1982 until his death in 1987.

Brauer started with Hunter Engineering in 1971 after serving three years in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He became chief operating officer in 1978 and chief executive officer in 1980.

In the past 20 years, Hunter has achieved remarkable growth through research and new product development. In the area of machine vision technology, in particular, Hunter has collaborated with Joseph O’Sullivan, Ph.D., the Samuel C. Sachs Professor of Electrical Engineering, among others, to bring that technology to the field of measuring vehicle suspension and alignment.

From 2001-03, Brauer served as U.S. ambassador to Belgium. Upon returning to the United States, he resumed his position at Hunter Engineering.

He is past president of the Missouri Botanical Garden board of trustees; a partner in The St. Louis Cardinals Baseball LP; a member of St. Louis Civic Progress; and a director of Ameren. His long association with the University began in 1987 when he joined the National Council for the School of Engineering. He was appointed to the University’s Board of Trustees in 1991.

Camilla Brauer is a cultural and civic leader in the St. Louis region and is vice chair of the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

At WUSTL, she serves as a member of The Danforth Circle Committee of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society. In 1996, the National Society of Fund Raising Executives named her the Outstanding Fund Raising Volunteer in the United States.

The Brauers have provided significant support for scholarships for students in the School of Engineering and in the John M. Olin Business School. They endowed the Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Distinguished Professorship in Biomedical Engineering and have contributed generously to support University initiatives, including facility expansions such as the laboratory addition in Jolley Hall.

The Brauers are Life Patrons of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society.