Gonzaga University President Rev. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J. and Avista Corp. President/CEO Scott Morris will celebrate the first anniversary of Gonzaga’s Transmission and Distribution Program along with guest speakers Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., in a noon presentation, Friday, Oct. 17. The event is free and open to the public.
The new PACCAR Center houses Gonzaga's Transmission & Distribution Program, which will mark its first anniversary Friday, Oct. 17 in a noon ceremony to include U.S. Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell along with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.
Rev. Spitzer will offer special thanks to the lawmakers – Sens. Murray and Cantwell and Rep. McMorris Rodgers – for their considerable help in obtaining federal funds to help defray costs for the facility.
The celebration is scheduled to be held outside, at the east end of Gonzaga’s new PACCAR Center for Engineering and Applied Science. The Avista T&D Power Lab workstations have been installed in the PACCAR Center, which is located directly south of the Herak Center for Engineering and Applied Science and is connected to Herak via a sky bridge. A reception and tours will follow the special presentation.
Rev. Spitzer will thank Avista and the other major benefactors responsible for their partnership in creating the program and funding the new T&D Lab, including the W. M. Keck Foundation that helped purchase equipment, the U.S. Department of Energy, Lab Volt, Incremental Systems Corp., PowerData Corp., and SOS International, LLC.
The online T&D Certificate Program is offered by Gonzaga’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and consists of five 3-credit courses developed through partnership with practicing utility engineers. All of the eight-week courses are offered online and are taught by industry leaders and GU engineering faculty. In an industry that is projecting substantial increases in transmission investments while facing a dramatic decline in trained transmission and distribution professionals, the program fits an identified need.
The PACCAR Center for Engineering and Applied Science cost approximately $8.5 million to build; it houses nine classrooms, two computer labs and the Avista Transmission and Power Lab. The three-story structure offers 29,000-square-feet of classrooms, labs and offices. The equipment in the lab will provide students with unique opportunities to model real-world problems in a laboratory setting, and investigate implications of possible solutions.
Room 106 of the PACCAR Center houses a new robotics and artificial vision lab for computer science students to work on the latest industry innovations. Gonzaga’s commitment to undergraduate research has led to students performing paid research at NASA, Google, Microsoft and many other companies. Also, several students receive full funding for graduate research each year.
Gonzaga formally dedicated and blessed the new PACCAR Center in an Oct. 1 ceremony. The PACCAR Center for Applied Science will become Gonzaga’s first certified “green” building.
For more information about the event, contact Liz Fleming with Gonzaga at (509) 434-9107. For more information regarding the T&D Program, contact Jilliene McKinstry at (509) 313-5701 or via e-mail.