Groundbreaking held for James M. McKelvey, Sr. Hall

Engineering building is final piece of the east end transformation

Washington University School of Engineering & Applied Science Dean Emeritus James McKelvey (right) and his son James McKelvey Jr. attended the ceremonial groundbreaking for McKelvey Hall, the final piece of the university's east end transformation. (Photo: Joe Angeles/Washington University)

Washington University in St. Louis Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Dean Aaron Bobick of the School of Engineering & Applied Science joined faculty, staff and friends for a groundbreaking ceremony kicking off construction of James M. McKelvey, Sr. Hall.  The event took place Sept. 28.

“I’m grateful for all that Dean Emeritus McKelvey has done to advance the stature and the impact of this school. For decades, he and his wife, Judy, have been deeply involved in the life of the university. Now, Jim McKelvey Jr., through his extraordinary support and dedication, is adding to this great family legacy,” Wrighton said.

McKelvey Sr., a Washington University alumnus who served as dean for 27 years, led the effort to transform the School of Engineering & Applied Science from a regional school to a nationally recognized research institution. McKelvey Hall will be located south of Preston M. Green Hall. While it will house the Department of Computer Science & Engineering, it also will include faculty spaces and labs from each of the school’s five departments, promoting collaboration.

The building was made possible by a $15 million lead gift from McKelvey’s son Jim Jr., who along with his father and family attended the event. McKelvey Jr. is an accomplished engineer, artist and entrepreneur, as well as a Washington University alumnus and a member of the university’s Board of Trustees.

“The investment in this facility is an investment for the entire university,” said Bobick, who is also the James M. McKelvey Professor. “As we continue to advance engineering, it is fitting that a building bearing Jim McKelvey Sr.’s name will be part of this magnificent new entrance to the Danforth Campus.”

Construction is expected to be completed in 2020.

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