The University of Denver has launched a new interdisciplinary approach to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The new initiative will develop and expand STEM offerings and support collaboration with complementary fields.
A new 110,000-square-foot building will be built to house the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, as well as the new Knoebel Center for the Study of Aging.
The building's open and flexible design will allow the facility to grow as the University expands and builds on STEM programs in the future. The new building will provide flexible classroom spaces, vastly expanded research space, interdisciplinary centers and institutes, administrative offices, and dining facilities.
The building will be located on the south end of campus—between East Iliff and East Wesley avenues and York and Gaylord streets.
The University broke ground on the new facility on May 6, 2014. It's expected to open in late 2015.
The building was made possible by gifts totaling more than $40 million from Chancellor Emeritus Daniel L. Ritchie, William C. Petersen and Betty Knoebel. The Ritchie gift is the largest single donation in the University's history. In recognition of this donation, the engineering and computer science school has been renamed in honor of Daniel L. Ritchie's father.
Expansion with new partnerships
The University's new interdisciplinary STEM focus will expand its existing engineering and computer science programs. The expansion means the University will be able to grow its engineering and computer science student and faculty capacity by 30 percent.
The new initiative and facilities will allow the University to strengthen partnerships and expand its current research in fields such as cyber security, software engineering, sustainable energy distribution and mechatronics.
Knoebel Center for the Study of Aging
Also to be launched in 2015 will be the Knoebel Center for the Study of Aging. The Knoebel Center will focus on ways to increase the healthy years of life in an aging population. The Center will support complementary research and scholarship on aging and aging-related conditions in a variety of STEM disciplines, particularly the molecular life sciences and orthopedic biomechanics (including the refinement of artificial limbs, valves and prosthetics).
The center also will facilitate interdisciplinary study in concert with the graduate schools of social work and professional psychology.
The Center is named in recognition of a donation from Betty Knoebel, widow of Denver food services pioneer Ferdinand "Fritz" Knoebel. The Knoebel gift also will fund faculty positions in molecular life sciences and bioengineering.