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Foundation Grant Equips Engineering Building

Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Supports Engineering at UCR

The foundation has granted UCR $250,000 to help equip its newest engineering building.

(August 31, 2006)

A view of Engineering II from its plaza

A view of Engineering II from its plaza

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — — University of California, Riverside officials today announced a $250,000 grant from the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation to help equip the newest building in the Bourns College of Engineering with the latest technology.

The current grant is the largest that the Parsons Foundation has extended to UCR, according to campus officials. It will ensure that the Engineering Building II will be equipped with the latest technical support systems that allow faculty and students to carry out a number of nationally critical research initiatives.

The Bourns College of Engineering is involved in such initiatives as developing nanodevices to track down and attack cancer at the cellular level through bioengineering; developing new ways to detect and remediate soil, groundwater and air pollution from a variety of sources; and using the latest in computer animation to illustrate physiological processes that can help in medical education, treatment and wellness education.

Most of the Parsons Foundation money will equip undergraduate and graduate student computer labs and training rooms to help the college continue offering 24-hour, seven-day-a-week access to computers and the networks required to advance education and research, according to Bourns College of Engineering Dean Reza Abbaschian.

“The generous support of the Parsons Foundation will enable us to provide the best education as well as hands-on experience in computation and electronics to our students, who represent the best and brightest in the state,” said Abbaschian. “The support is particularly significant this coming fall as we expect a large freshman class.”

The grant will also advance the building’s evolution into what scientists and engineers call an “aware building,” in which wireless networks of sensors and video cameras monitor almost every aspect of the building’s use and environment, enabling it to warn security officials of anomalies that could pose a threat to the building or its occupants. Such technology is being investigated by the U.S. government for use in nationally critical buildings, military installations and embassies overseas.

Engineering II houses the departments of Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, the Center for Research in Intelligent Systems, and the Center for Networked and Embedded Computer systems. The 98,000-square-foot four-story building was opened in the fall of 2005 in response to the unprecedented growth the college has been experiencing since its establishment in 1989. Its 1,500 undergraduate and 330 graduate student enrollment is expected to more than double in the next five years.

The college has five key fields of strength including computer science, nanotechnology, intelligent systems, environmental and energy systems, embedded systems, and bioengineering systems. In 2005, U.S. News & World Report ranked Bourns College of Engineering at UCR among the top third of doctoral degree granting engineering schools in the U.S.

The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation is an independent grant-making philanthropy. It was begun in 1961 by the founder of the Ralph M. Parsons Company. Subsequent to Mr. Parsons' death in 1974, the Foundation received the remainder of his estate. Since that time, the Foundation has been governed by an independent Board of Directors and administrative staff and is no longer affiliated with the Parsons Corporation.
Front of the Engineering II building

Front of the Engineering II building

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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