University News

Carver Trust Donation Benefits WIU Engineering

December 8, 2015

Printer friendly version

MOLINE, IL -- A $161,000 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust will provide Western Illinois University engineering students with expanded lab space and enhanced learning opportunities. Funding will support the re-purposing of two existing spaces in Riverfront Hall into a modern computer-aided design (CAD) classroom and an innovation lab.

The new CAD classroom will be equipped for up to 32 students, which allows for an additional eight more students than the current Western Illinois University- Quad Cities program. The classroom will support engineering courses and related research in computational methods, fluid dynamics, electronics, finite element analysis, heat/thermodynamics and other computer-based practicums.

The innovation lab will allow students a place to create, test and analyze their designs using various machines and tools. Additionally, faculty can expand project-based instruction and research, provide students enhanced workforce development skills and prepare the facilities for the anticipated enrollment increases in engineering programs.

"With documented occupational need, and demonstrated enrollment growth, we are excited about the enhanced educational opportunities provided by Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust," said WIU Vice President for Quad Cities and Planning Joe Rives. "We are proud of our new partnership and excited about the opportunities it brings in attracting and retaining high quality students and employees to the Quad Cities area."
The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust is one of the largest private philanthropic foundations in the state of Iowa with annual grant distributions of over $13 million. It was created through the will of Carver, a Muscatine industrialist and philanthropist.

Since the beginning of the trust's grant-making activities in 1987, more than $283 million has been distributed in the form of over 1,900 individual grants. Biomedical and scientific research; primary, secondary and higher education; and other issues related to the needs of youth are the program areas of greatest interest to the Carver Charitable Trust.

"We are very pleased to support WIU-QC in this endeavor to establish high-quality classrooms and laboratories for scientific and technical instruction, and look forward to witnessing its benefit to the greater Quad Cities region," said Lynne Sasmazer, program director of the Carver Trust.

According to William Pratt, director of the WIU School of Engineering, the core of an engineering program is the ability of students to learn CAD systems and to put these skills to practice in a real-world environment. The re-purposing of two areas at WIU-QC and the expanded and updated CAD classroom, along with simultaneous creation of an on-site innovation lab, will make needed and significant changes to the engineering students' educational experience, Pratt explained.

"The charitable support that the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust has provided organizations over many years is outstanding. We are pleased and honored to have received this grant that will have a significant impact on our engineering program and our students," stated Brad Bainter, executive director of the Western Illinois University Foundation.

Work on the project will begin this semester, with an expected completion date of Summer 2016.

For more information about the project or the WIU-QC School of Engineering, contact Bill Pratt at or (309) 762-9481.

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Communications & Marketing