THE VIBRANT TWIN CITIES COMMUNITY
took place. The impacts of inequality and, worse, indifference which have plagued so much of what is possible for our world have cast a great shadow on this time. I am confident that with their understanding of the human condition in combination with their St. Thomas engineering education, that our graduates will be those who are humble enough, wise enough and bold enough to truly make a difference. Today one in six students who study at St. Thomas are in the School of Engineering. As you read this issue, you will learn about another great aspect of engineering at St. Thomas: the abundant opportunities for students to do research with faculty. Nearly half of our undergraduate students complete a research project with faculty outside of the classroom. From biomedical applications to advanced composite materials, students work jointly with faculty on new discoveries in the lab, adding an invaluable dimension to their educational experience. We are grateful for the vitality of the Minneapolis- St. Paul metro area’s manufacturing, technical and business community that supports our work. The connection we have with industry forms an integral part of the DNA of our school. This year we completed nearly 40 projects with industry partners in our Engineering Senior Design Clinic. We are blessed to be in this community that so energetically supports the growth of our unique brand of engineering.
As we send this edition of the St. Thomas Engineer magazine to print, our worlds have been radically disrupted by the new challenge of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the brutal reminder of the old hurt and years of anguish caused by racial injustices that have been exposed by the killings of George Floyd and others in recent weeks. We have to acknowledge with humility the hard work that lies ahead of us on both fronts. In this context, it is a difficult moment to foster celebrations of any kind, but in these pages, we have important information to share, mere seeds of a brighter future that lies ahead through our steadfast work. We are building something truly special here in Minnesota. As one of the youngest engineering programs in the nation, we are grateful that we were not born wedded to 100+ year-old thinking of what engineering education must be. When we started our undergraduate programs in 1998, it was a greenfield operation and a clean canvas on which to design a 21st century program and build it with 21st century thinking. The National Academy’s “Engineer of 2020” report released in 2004 only reinforced the educational philosophy of our engineering faculty at St Thomas. We knew that excellence in design and discovery would require reliance on both the mindset developed in liberal arts education as well as rigorous technical and hands-on skills. We envisioned that the most impactful engineers in this 21st century world would be those with resilience and adaptability. If anything, the year 2020 has reminded us of how vital those traits have become. We are hopeful that the year 2020 will be a great inflection point in the arc of humanity. Our location in St. Paul, Minnesota, is just across the river from Minneapolis, where the death of George Floyd
Dr. Don Weinkauf Dean, School of Engineering
St. Thomas Engineer 2020 Page 3
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