Groundbreaking set for new building devoted to energy and environmental engineering research, education

A groundbreaking ceremony for a new energy and environmental engineering building on the Danforth Campus of Washington University in St. Louis will be held Wednesday, Oct. 29, on the parking lot adjacent to Whitaker Hall, near the corner of Skinker Boulevard and Forest Park Parkway, according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m., with the groundbreaking scheduled for 1:45 p.m. A reception in Whitaker Hall will follow at 2 p.m.

The building, which will be named in honor of Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer, will be east of and adjoining to Whitaker Hall, home of the biomedical engineering department.

The university received a major commitment from the Brauers to help implement the long-range, strategic plan of its School of Engineering & Applied Science. Their gift is a challenge grant that will match gifts from alumni, parents and friends designated for the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

Stephen Brauer, current vice chair and chair-elect of Washington University’s board of trustees and chair of the School of Engineering’s National Council, joined the board of trustees in 1991, and has championed the goal of accelerating Washington University’s ascent among the world’s premier universities and building a leading engineering school.

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 prominent figure in local cultural and civic organizations and has been recognized nationally for her volunteer work as a fund-raiser.

When the Stephen F. & 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 department 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 undergraduate engineering students, and, in just one decade, has become nationally recognized as one of the top biomedical engineering departments in the country.

For more information about the event, contact Nick Benassi at (314) 935-4455;, or Gabrielle Miller at (314) 935-5419;