Jubel gift will create new home for WUSTL’s Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

A major commitment by Donald Jubel, on his family’s behalf, to honor his late parents will provide the impetus for the next phase of physical expansion for Washington University in St. Louis’ School of Engineering & Applied Science.

When built, the Henry A. and Elvira H. Jubel Hall will be a first-class facility housing the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, the school’s second-largest major, and allow for critically needed space for the projected influx of faculty, researchers and students.

It also will become the nucleus for campus-wide collaboration involving multidisciplinary research to promote the convergence of biomechanics, materials science and nanotechnology — research that will address the unprecedented challenges in such industries as energy and aerospace.

Jubel, who graduated from the school in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, made the commitment through the Henry A. Jubel Foundation. The foundation was established in honor of his father, a 1940 graduate of the school.

“With this very generous and important gift, Don and Karen Jubel pay tribute to both their family and to Washington University,” said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, adding:

“Their generosity and desire to help others are rooted in the values upheld by Henry Jubel, who understood the importance of a good education and overcame considerable odds to matriculate at Washington University. Don and his family are carrying these values forward to help others achieve their dreams of a Washington University education, and prepare them for tomorrow’s global challenges.”

Engineering & Applied Science’s master plan

Remarking upon the Jubel family gift, Ralph S. Quatrano, PhD, dean of the school and the Spencer T. Olin Professor, said:

“This generous gift is the latest in a history of giving from the Jubel family and goes a long way toward advancing our master plan for the engineering school. A project of this magnitude can only happen with the support and commitment of many people, and we are truly grateful to the Henry A. Jubel Foundation and the Jubel family for leading the way.”

Quatrano noted that more than $150 million already has been invested in new and renovated engineering space during the past 10 years. Jubel Hall will become the fourth building in the school’s master plan to create a 700,000-square-foot engineering complex in the northeast corner of the Danforth Campus. The expansion began with Whitaker Hall and now includes Brauer and Green halls. Construction on Jubel Hall is expected to begin within a few years.

The gift is part of Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University, a multiyear initiative launched publicly in October 2012 to help the university attain its overarching goal: “To enhance our leadership today to benefit America and the world tomorrow.”

Jubel family

“My father and his parents were German immigrants who came to this country with nothing,” Don Jubel said. But with the help of a partial scholarship and jobs to make ends meet, like cutting grass at the university, Henry Jubel graduated from WUSTL with a mechanical engineering degree.

In 1941, Henry Jubel joined the Civil Service Ordnance Department. There, he displayed his inventiveness by developing a model for a grenade launcher that fit onto the bayonet attachment of the M-1 rifle. This contribution to the war effort saved many lives, for which he received the highest civilian honor, the Emblem for Exceptional Civilian Service.

After World War II, he went to work for Sterling Aluminum Products as a production engineer before establishing Spartan Aluminum Products (now called Spartan Light Metal Products).

After his father’s death in 1999, Don took over the reins, and his tenure as chief executive officer of the international leader in the design and manufacture of aluminum and magnesium custom die-casting products and assemblies has been one of success and growth. Today, Spartan employs a workforce of 700, with operations in Sparta, Ill.; Mexico, Hannibal and St. Louis, Mo.; Detroit; and Tokyo. A major supplier to the automotive industry, Spartan last reported annual sales of $200 million.

Don’s mother, Elvira, died in 2013.

“The story of Spartan is an impressive one, but no surprise after knowing the family,” Quatrano said. “Don has been working in the company for more than four decades, even working in the plant every summer while at Washington University to ensure he learned all aspects of the business.”

After graduating from WUSTL, Don earned an MBA from the University of Missouri-Columbia before joining the family business full time in 1975.

University and school service

For their lifelong dedication to their alma mater, both father and son have received the School of Engineering & Applied Science’s Alumni Achievement Award: Henry in 1997 and Don in 2008. That same year, Don received the school’s John W. Kourik Volunteer of the Year Award, and the university’s Founders Day Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010.

Active as an alumni leader and adviser, Don continues to serve Washington University as an ex officio trustee in his role as chair of the Alumni Board of Governors.

For the engineering school, he serves as a member of its National Council and member and past chair of the Eliot Society. He also is a member and past president of the school’s Alumni Advisory Council and co-chaired his class’ 35th reunion. For the Leading Together campaign, he is chair of the engineering school’s St. Louis initiative.

Until this recent commitment, the Jubel family’s financial support has focused on scholarships. In 1998, Henry Jubel established the Spartan Light Metal Products Inc. Scholarship, which endows four scholarships. Don and Karen Jubel also sponsor two annual scholarships.

Passing the torch

Three generations of the Jubel family now have earned or are working toward degrees from Washington University. Don and Karen’s daughter Lindsey earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering in 2009. Daughter Melissa and her husband, Herb Markwort, both are enrolled in the Executive MBA program in the Olin Business School. Herb is also an alumnus of WUSTL’s engineering school; he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering at WUSTL in 2005.

“With such a strong family presence at the university, it’s fitting that their name will have a physical presence on the Danforth Campus,” Wrighton said, adding:

“Jubel Hall will be an excellent example of the Henry A. Jubel Foundation’s mission to support young people seeking to improve their lives through higher education, and in doing so, improve the world.”