Donors pledge $2.5 million for MSOE’s comp sci hall

Will outfit the building with technology, classroom spaces

A rendering of MSOE’s computational science facility on North Milwaukee Street, viewed from the north. (Uihlein/Wilson — Ramlow/Stein Architects)

Individual and corporate donors have pledged more than $2.5 million to support programs and name spaces within Milwaukee School of Engineering’s new Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall.

A rendering of MSOE’s computational science facility on North Milwaukee Street, viewed from the north. (Uihlein/Wilson — Ramlow/Stein Architects)

The new 64,000-square-foot AI-focused facility, which is slated to open in the fall, is funded by a $34 million gift from MSOE alumnus Dwight Diercks and his wife, Dian. It is located at the corner of Milwaukee and State streets in downtown Milwaukee.

“MSOE was built on partnerships with industry and we’re proud to continue that tradition,” said John Walz, president of MSOE. “We are relying on our partners to support our bold step forward into this transformative learning space.”

Corporate sponsorships include:

  • PieperPower Corp. has sponsored the Corporate Partnership Classroom, Corporate Partnership Center Touchdown Space and Collaboration Rooms.
  • Northwestern Mutual is supporting the Northwestern Mutual Classroom, Northwestern Mutual AI Laboratory and collaborative rooms within the building, student scholarships and a lecture series.
  • The Rexnord Corporation Classroom and Kimbel A. Nap ’72 Classroom (gift of Elaine Nap) are interactive and flexible classrooms for emerging modes of learning.
  • The Dedicated Computing Data Analytics Laboratory is a data-rich reconfigurable laboratory space.
  • The LogistiVIEW AR/VR Laboratory is a cross-disciplinary space where computer science and software engineering students will work on augmented reality application development and computer graphics courses; nursing students will participate in nursing simulations; and civil and architectural engineering and construction management students will learn virtual design and construction coordination, and building information modeling techniques.
  • The Pindel Global Precision Room is a teamwork hub to foster collaboration between students, faculty and industry.

Individual gifts include:

  • The Dr. Bernard A. Cohen ’71 Human Machine Interface Laboratory will explore the interactions between humans and technology across the fields of robotics, computer science, biomedical engineering, nursing and user experience.
  • MSOE alumni Michael Barber, a MSOE regent, and Jackie Herd-Barber, a MSOE Corporation member, have committed to sponsoring the plaza, which will promote collaboration across disciplines.
  • The Ronald Jensen Conference Room, The Dr. Joe and Lynette Noworatzky Conference Room and The Wagner Family Conference Room will offer a meeting space for faculty and staff.
  • A gift from MSOE professor emeritus Hans Schroeder supports the administrative office space for the computer science and software engineering programs located within Diercks Hall.
  • The Dr. Edward ’68 and Arlene Raether Study Area will give students a place to relax and study.
  • The Gary Folbrecht Office (gift of Brent J. Folbrecht) is a faculty office designed for student accessibility.

Generac has also provided an in-kind gift related to emergency electrical power for the facility.

“Our supporters have recognized the need for innovative working and learning spaces,” said Jeff Snow, vice president of development for MSOE. “We are grateful for their dedication to fostering an inspired culture on campus.”

In 2018, MSOE launched a new computer science degree program, which will be housed in the new facility when it opens. MSOE leaders have said the new facility and degree offering will position the university as a national leader in artificial intelligence and computational science.

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.