Construction Management to Host Gala to Celebrate 50th Anniversary, Continuing Success in $1.5 Million Fund-Raising Campaign

Colorado State University’s construction management program will hold a special 50th anniversary gala celebration May 10 at the Lory Student Center to commemorate both the success of the program and the ongoing campaign to raise $1.5 million.

Over 500 people from the university and the construction industry are expected to attend the gala evening, which will feature dinner, recognition of major donors, a live auction and a light-hearted look at the past five decades at Colorado State. For more information on the event, call (970) 491-7353.

"In all the years of the construction management program, this year may be the best for a number of reasons," said Larry Grosse, head of the department of manufacturing technology and construction management. "The construction management program is recognized as one of the top programs in the nation, our graduates are leaders in the industry and we’ve been very successful in our fund-raising efforts to help make construction management at Colorado State even better." The fund-raising campaign, which was launched to fund specific improvements in the construction management program, to date has raised about $1.2 million of its $1.5 million goal, according to college officials. The campaign will continue to the end of the year. Funds will be used for three main goals outlined below.

"What’s exciting about this campaign is that the construction industry and the program graduates have really rallied around the plans to make an already great program even better for the students, the faculty and the construction industry," said Nancy Hartley, dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences. "We’re excited about the future for the construction management program, a future that is only possible because of the strong foundation that has been built." Planned improvements include the following.

REQUIRED INTERNSHIPS A total of $750,000 from the campaign will be used to establish the Phelps Internship Placement Program in the department to help all students in the program gain internships in the construction industry, as required for graduation. The internship program is funded largely through a $500,000 gift from Joseph H. Phelps, alumnus of the construction management program.

The placement office, which will be staffed by a full-time director and support staff, will act as a liaison between students and industry and work to find the right matches for both. About 70 to 100 internships with participating companies would be required each semester to meet the needs of students.

"Internships are a vital part of the educational experience and we look at this new program as a way to further connect our students to the industry," Grosse said. "In working with our students, we realize the value they place on internships, and this new program will help us meet their needs better by expanding and improving the educational experience." CLASSROOMS OF THE 21ST CENTURY A total of $250,000 from the campaign will be dedicated to updating and improving classrooms in construction management and adding state-of-the-art technology.

As part of the plan to improve the classrooms, the department will add a centrally stored digital database for use by department faculty in interactive teaching. The database and computer equipment will allow faculty to upload instructional materials for individual lesson plans and then present those lesson plans to students via computer and other electronic equipment.

"Educators must step beyond the lectern and chalkboard and use the latest communication technologies," Hartley said. "Our graduates must be prepared to enter the increasingly technological world of construction management. This planned upgrade will help us better prepare our students for the real- world business environment of the 21st century." APPLIED RESEARCH FOR THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY The remaining $500,000 of the fund-raising effort will be dedicated to practical research projects aimed at helping the construction industry face the challenges ahead.

"As a land-grant university, an important part of our mission is to conduct research to help society," Grosse said. "We take this mission seriously. The fund-raising effort will help expand and develop solutions to the challenges facing the construction industry in the coming years." The research funding will be used to help undergraduate and graduate students as well as construction management faculty work on real-world issues in the industry.

"There are tremendous advantages in this kind of applied research program," Grosse said. "Our students will experience all facets of research through a wide range of projects. Plus, our faculty will be able to gain valuable research experience and publish materials that could benefit the entire construction industry.

"Best of all, this research will be focused on working with companies in the industry. We will strive to become an asset to them by researching and attempting to solve the problems that plague them and for which there are currently no solutions."