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Vermeer Charitable Foundation gifts $350,000 to Dordt program

Dordt College is pleased to announce a $350,000 gift from Vermeer Charitable Foundation, specifically benefiting the science and engineering programs.

The Vermeer Charitable Foundation is a division of Vermeer Manufacturing in Pella, Iowa, which sells industrial construction, environmental, and agricultural product lines. The charitable foundation seeks to act as an agent of God’s resources by assisting with local, national, and global projects.

The $350,000 gift will be used at Dordt College to begin renovations in the Science and Technology Center. These renovations will be an initial step in the development of a new science and technology facility on campus, a plan that includes renovated lab space for engineering, chemistry, biology, and biotechnology. The grant plays an integral part in a multi-phase plan to add a state-of-the-art science wing to the existing Science and Technology Center. When additional phases are funded and implemented, biology and chemistry classes will move into new laboratories, with existing spaces redesigned for use by students in engineering.

The Vermeer gift will be used to fund equipment and renovations in the redesigned engineering laboratory space. This renovated space will include a prototyping laboratory with fabrication and machining equipment available for student use and learning. A new mechatronics laboratory will be equipped to provide students with hands-on learning opportunities in automation and instrumentation systems. Finally, new laboratory equipment will be acquired to instruct students in research and experiments relating to geotechnical and environmental engineering, for students in the civil-environmental emphasis.

Engineering Department Chair, Dr. Ethan Brue says that from a teaching standpoint, the new equipment will give students hands-on exposure to basic machining and fabrication equipment. Firsthand knowledge of such equipment will enable them to create better designs—designs that are quickly and efficiently machined. Brue feels the new equipment and lab space will not only improve the quality of student prototypes, it will enable the department to better collaborate with industry on design projects and research. He adds that this enhanced fabrication and metal-working facility could serve other departments, such as theater stage design, art, agriculture, physics, and maintenance.