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05/28/93

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Stanford breaks ground on new center for engineering management

STANFORD -- Stanford University's growing partnership of engineering and business in modern manufacturing teaching and research will be greatly enhanced with the construction on campus of the new Charles B. Thornton Center for Engineering Management, the deans of the two schools say.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Wednesday, May 26, for the new building, to be named after the founder of Litton Industries.

James Gibbons, dean of the School of Engineering, said the center would play a key role in the development of "technical and management training needed to make substantial contributions to our country's competitiveness in the global marketplace."

A. Michael Spence, dean of the Graduate School of Business, said the center will provide up-to-date labs and classrooms appropriate for the two schools' growing collaboration in manufacturing.

Last fall, the nationally ranked engineering and business schools launched the nation's first Ph.D. degree program dedicated to creating professors of manufacturing. The schools already offered a master's program that allows participants to receive simultaneously master's degrees in manufacturing systems engineering and in business.

The schools also are developing courses taught by teams of professors from various disciplines and schools. The effort also includes the Stanford Integrated Manufacturing Association, which involvesindustrial firms in technology exchange and in identifying manufacturing research and educational needs.

The new two-story building will be located on Santa Teresa Street between the Terman Engineering Center and Terman Grove. The 11,200- square-foot facility will be visually connected to Terman by the new Litton Plaza, which will integrate and preserve the oak grove and modify the pond area.

The $3.5 million building and plaza, funded by gifts, was designed by the architectural firm of Tanner Leddy Maytum Stach Architects of San Francisco. It is to be completed in the summer of 1994.

It will house two 70-seat classrooms configured like the Law School's case-study rooms, as well as offices and two innovative laboratories - one for manufacturing model development and another for "smart products" design. The latter, Spence said, includes facilities for rapid prototyping of multiple-component products, which is essential to competitive manufacturing in today's business environment.

Building donors who were honored at the groundbreaking include:

  • The Thornton Foundation, which was represented by members of the family of the late Charles B. "Tex" Thornton, who founded Litton Industries in 1953.
  • The Foundation of the Litton Industries, headquartered in Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • The Charles Lee Powell Foundation of La Jolla, Calif.
  • The Stanford Engineering Venture Capital Fund, created in 1985 by seven local venture capitalists, which also has funded seven endowed professorships and fellowships in the School of Engineering.

The Manufacturing Modeling Laboratory will be funded by a gift from J. Fred Weintz Jr., a member of the Stanford Board of Trustees and a partner of Goldman, Sachs in New York.

The Smart Products Design Laboratory is made possible by a gift from the late Karl Peter Grube, who received a mechanical engineering degree from Stanford in 1935 and a master's in aeronautical engineering in 1936. One of the early engineers on the DC-3 project of Douglas Aircraft, Grube later worked for All Steel.

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