Donation to expand UNH ocean engineering program

Bret Belden

According to a press release sent out by the University of New Hampshire, the university received $3 million to expand marine research and opportunities for undergraduate students. 

The gift was donated by an anonymous source, which was said to be an alumnus in the press release.

“The new Chase Laboratory Ocean Engineering Wing will provide much needed space and afford many more students the opportunity to work with the outstanding engineering faculty that UNH has assembled for this important effort,” the anonymous donor said in the press release. 

The money will be used to expand work in ocean exploration and research, as well as help with the construction of a new wing in the Chase Engineering Laboratory. 

According to the press release, UNH is the only university in northern New England that offers undergraduates the opportunity to earn a degree in ocean engineering. 

Though the original lab was built in 1994, UNH’s School of Marine Sciences and Ocean Engineering was founded in 2013 and offers students unique opportunities in laboratory and field experience.

“The Jere A. Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory has a proud history of providing a laboratory space for established and emerging ocean engineers and scientists,” mechanical and ocean engineering professor Diane Foster said in the initial press release.

According to the marine science and ocean engineering website, the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering is UNH’s first “interdisciplinary school.”

The school currently houses over a hundred graduate students, has over 70 faculty members and has nearly $25 million in annual extramural research support. 

The press release also included a look into what the building expansion will look like, such as four research laboratories, an instrumentation lab, a machine shop and a computer closer room. The expansion will also include a 90-seat lecture hall and a seminar classroom, including an outdoor workspace. The expansion is currently taking place and is prepared to open in fall 2017.

The areas of research that the research labs will be focusing on are ocean structures, costal sediments, ocean acoustics and marine robotics. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, ocean-related science fields are expected to have a growth of nearly 20 percent within the next five years.

The Case Laboratory already offers modern technology such as a wave/tow tank, an engineering tank and a high-speed cavitation tunnel.