UT to Celebrate Opening of New Eastman Engineering Lab

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A before and after look at one of the spaces in the Eastman Unit Operations Laboratory, renovated with help from the Fortune 300 company.

Eastman has long been a strategic partner for UT’s College of Engineering.

The new Eastman Unit Operations Laboratory opening Thursday serves as the latest example of that partnership, bringing business and education together to enable students to be successful in the workforce.

“Eastman’s support of our college is certainly important to our growth and success,” said Wayne Davis, dean of the college. “The opening of this lab is a key moment for us, one that would not have been possible without this partnership.”

Housed in the Nathan W. Dougherty Engineering Building, the lab will offer state-of-the-art facilities for engineering students to learn real-world practices.

Unit operations labs are often used to help chemical engineering students take theoretical knowledge from the classroom and put it to use under monitored conditions.

In particular, students can go through the process of converting raw materials into finished products, something that helps them prepare for employment after college.

“Having a lab such as this will allow us to expose our students to the practices and experience that are so critical to success after college,” said Bamin Khomami, head of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

For a Fortune 300 company like Eastman, being roughly 100 miles away from UT has provided them with one of their most critical resources: people.

While funding and mentoring provided by Eastman help UT, having such a highly skilled crop of graduates in their backyard is one of the significant ways that UT returns the favor.

“Having the best engineering school possible benefits the region, not just Eastman,” said Etta Clark, Eastman’s vice president for global public affairs and policy. “Our relationship is about collaboration and teamwork, and developing a solid foundation for students to succeed in the workforce. When those students secure local jobs, it benefits everyone.”

In addition to the lab itself, Eastman also has sponsored a commons area in Dougherty, where students study or relax; three professor of practice positions; and the HITES— High School Introduction to Engineering Systems—camp. The company’s contributions total more than $2 million.

CONTACT:

David Goddard (865-974-0683, david.goddard@utk.edu)