Chris Napoleon, a mechanical engineer and alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, pledged $50,000 toward the construction of the George B. Duke Engineering and Information Technologies Building at his alma mater.
For Napoleon, who is the owner and chief engineer at Napoleon Engineering Services in Olean, N.Y., supporting the building project means supporting future generations of students who want to pursue careers in engineering.
“I got my start in engineering at Pitt-Bradford,” said Napoleon, who attended Pitt-Bradford from 1986-88. “The positive experience I had at Pitt-Bradford has much to do with me developing into the person I am today, culminating in a work experience that is challenging and rewarding.”
Since Pitt-Bradford did not offer four-year engineering programs when he was a student, Napoleon transferred to Pitt’s Pittsburgh campus to complete his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
However, this fall, students interested in engineering have the option to pursue a four-year degree in mechanical engineering technology or energy engineering technology, two of the programs that will be housed in the new Duke Building, which is currently being built next to Hanley Library.
The new building, which will be Pitt-Bradford’s headquarters of innovation, also will be home to the existing programs of computer information systems and technology, energy science and technology, and information systems.
Rick Esch, Pitt-Bradford’s interim president, said, “All of us at Pitt-Bradford are grateful to Chris, who has supported this project from the very beginning.”
“In addition to providing financial support, Chris has lent his engineering expertise as we developed the new engineering technology programs,” Esch added. “He also visits campus frequently to talk with our engineering students and offer them internship and job-shadowing opportunities at his company.”
For Napoleon, supporting the programs and the new building was an easy decision.
“The opportunity to support new four-year engineering degree programs on the Pitt-Bradford campus means a lot to me. The addition of these engineering technology programs will give unprecedented opportunities to students.
“This is a win-win situation for students and local manufacturing businesses.”
The new Duke Building is being constructed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environment Design – LEED – standards. It is anticipated that the U.S. Green Building Council will certify the building at least at the silver level. Once certified, it will join Livingston Alexander House as the second LEED-certified building on campus and the third in McKean County.
The new facility will feature a solar array on its roof, which is expected to produce about 113,000 kWh/year and include a building dashboard that will aid in community education and engagement.
In addition to the solar array, the new building will include many specialized spaces for students, including a circuit lab, measurement lap, a machine shop, a strength and materials lab, a fluid dynamics lab, a maker space, and a virtual reality lab.
The building also will feature a light-filled two-story atrium, study rooms, and a project lab for students from different disciplines to collaborate, inspire each other, and make their designs a reality.
To learn more about the new building and the programs that will be housed in it, visit www.upb.pitt.edu/engineeringbuilding.