The W.M. Keck Foundation has awarded St. Mary’s University a $250,000 grant to enhance undergraduate engineering education and research through significant upgrades to the School of Science, Engineering and Technology’s Automated Manufacturing and Robotics Laboratory (AMRL).

The improved AMRL will significantly strengthen courses in the industrial engineering, engineering management, and engineering science programs, support the development of new courses in advanced manufacturing technologies, and offer capstone design experience support and undergraduate research opportunities to all six undergraduate engineering programs.

“We are honored and excited to receive the generous support of the W. M. Keck Foundation.  This grant will transform the University’s engineering program, enabling us to better serve our students as well as the San Antonio community and our region,” said Winston Erevelles, Ph.D., dean of the School of Science, Engineering and Technology.  “Funding from the Keck Foundation will enable us to provide our students with state-of-the-art technology and a learning environment that truly prepares them for what they will encounter as interns, engineering professionals or in graduate studies.”

“The Keck Foundation is well-known and respected in the academic and scientific communities with a strongly competitive application process. This grant speaks directly to the quality of our engineering programs today as well as Dean Erevelles’ vision of what he and the faculty can accomplish for our students,” said Tom M. Mengler, J.D., St. Mary’s University President. “This is our first grant from the Keck Foundation and we are looking forward to building a strong partnership with them.”

The new laboratory, along with the implementation of an educational model called MARRS (Manufacturability, Assemblability, Reproducibility, and Repeatability Synergy) will engage students in the conceive-design-build engineering process and synthesize theoretical and practical knowledge.  The grant is under the direction of Professor of Industrial Engineering Albert Sun, Ph.D., and Dean Erevelles.

About the Keck Foundation: Based in Los Angeles, the W. M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W. M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company.  The Foundation’s grant making is focused primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical, science and engineering research.  The Foundation also maintains an undergraduate education program that promotes distinctive learning and research experiences for students in the sciences and in the liberal arts, and a Southern California Grant Program that provides support for the Los Angeles community, with a special emphasis on children and youth from low-income families, special needs populations and safety-net services.

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