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Federal Money, Alumni Donations Fund Lab Dedicated to Beloved Professor

labScience and Engineering students at Loyola Marymount University will soon have a new facility for hands-on study and experimentation with new technologies, thanks to $2 million in federal funding and nearly a half million dollars in alumni contributions.

More than 100 people attended the dedication ceremony on April 27 for the James E. Foxworthy, Ph.D., Fluid Hydraulics Laboratory and the Collaborative Learning Center for Engineering. The learning center was largely funded by the federal appropriation sought by Rep. Maxine Waters, whose district includes LMU.

“The improvements and modifications that have come about as a result of the overwhelming support for the [Frank R.] Seaver College of Science and Engineering will keep LMU competitive and on the cutting edge of scientific research activities,” Waters said in a statement. “I am sure that LMU will continue to develop key partnerships to successfully train the next generation of engineering research professionals.”

The federal funds covered most of the cost of the learning center, while alumni donations of more than $450,000 paid for the Foxworthy lab and a private gift of $100,000 funded an endowed scholarship for civil engineering majors. The lab’s namesake was a popular professor at LMU for nearly 50 years, and the memory of his dedication was what inspired many alumni to donate.

“Foxworthy was an inspiration to all of his students from 1958 to 2004,” said Michael Mulvihill, professor emeritus and alumni of the class of ’59. “He was our mentor, our motivator, and he had the special knack of figuring out what our abilities were and what each of us needed to pursue those abilities. The success of LMU’s civil engineers in professional practice is a real testament to his guidance.”

quoteDuring the dedication, Richard G. Plumb, dean of Seaver College, spoke about the significance of the renovated space and the impact it will have on the future of the college. Mulvihill spoke about Foxworthy’s legacy at LMU, and Leslie Wall ’07 told how her experience in LMU’s Science and Engineering Community Outreach Program helped prepare her for her current career at the city of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Engineering.

“It’s the foundation that LMU’s engineering department lays for its students that allows us to go on and become successful engineers,” said Wall. “I owe all of my success to LMU and to professors like Professor Mulvihill who encourage their students. I just want to say thank you.”

The Foxworthy lab is a combination of lecture hall and laboratories for tribology, rapid prototyping, material science, thermodynamics and hydrology.  The learning center features a large multi-purpose space and several rooms that can be converted into classrooms or study rooms.

“This project is a perfect example of the kind of cooperation that LMU has with the federal government,” said President David W. Burcham. “It’s also a project where the dollars have gone directly to benefit the students. The facilities are first-rate and our students will benefit immeasurably, as will our faculty.”