Min H. Kao Engineering Building dedicated at UT

Min H. Kao Engineering Building dedicated at UT

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The Min H. Kao Building (source: utk.edu) The Min H. Kao Building (source: utk.edu)
Dr. Min Kao holds a plaque at Wednesday's ceremony. Dr. Min Kao holds a plaque at Wednesday's ceremony.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - State, federal and University of Tennessee officials on Wednesday dedicated the Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building.

Dr. Min Kao, UT alumnus, donor and chairman and CEO of Garmin, Ltd. also attended the ribbon cutting with Gov. Bill Haslam, UT President Dr. Joe DiPietro and Chancellor Jimmy Cheek.

"Dr. and Mrs. Kao's generous gift laid solid groundwork to begin our journey to the Top 25," said Chancellor Cheek. "Their gift offers our students competitive education and research opportunities and provides much-needed infrastructure and resources as we continue to expand and enhance our institutional goals."

Gov. Haslam says the new building will improve the campus and the state. "Our most critical need in the state right now is trained graduates in the STEM professions, particularly the engineering and as we work to recruit jobs to Tennessee, our biggest weakness is a lack of engineering talent and this building is going to help remedy that."

Dr. Kao and his wife, Fan Kao, donated $12.5 million to the building project which was, at the time, the largest single gift for a new building in the university's history.

"It is my great hope that this building will attract the finest students and the greatest faculty a building that will achieve the highest standards in electrical engineering and computer science," said Dr. Kao.

The state committed $25 million, marking one of the first such matching arrangements for a new academic building in Tennessee.

The Min Kao building, which is built to LEED standards, provides space for the college's growing enrollment.

UT says during the past five years, undergraduate enrollment increased by 27 percent. That's more than twice the national average. The number of doctoral students grew by 45 percent, which is more than four times the national average.

The Min Kao building also streamlines six buildings that formerly housed the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

The 150,000-square-foot space also houses the Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks (CURENT), a new, one-of-a-kind, smart grid research center funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

The building stands at 1520 Middle Drive, on the corner of the Hill at the intersection of 11th Street and Cumberland Avenue.

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