UMR to dedicate greenhouse March 11

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On March 3, 2005

A public ceremony to dedicate the Chester and Evelyn Baker Greenhouse, located on the roof of the Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Building at the University of Missouri-Rolla, will be held Friday, March 11.

Dr. Peter Raven, executive director of the Missouri Botanical Garden

The ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. in the Gunther Lecture Hall of the Butler-Carlton Building, located in the 1400 block of Pine Street on the northeastern side of campus.

Dr. Peter Raven, executive director of the Missouri Botanical Garden since 1971, will provide the keynote address. Described by Time magazine as a "Hero for the Planet," Raven is a leading advocate for conservation and a sustainable environment. His talk is titled, "Sustainability, Engineering, and the Future."

Refreshments and tours of the greenhouse facilities and the 143,000-square-foot building will follow Raven’s talk.

The greenhouse was made possible in part to a $100,000 donation by 1955 MSM-UMR civil engineering graduate Chester Baker, a native of Potosi, Mo. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Baker graduated from UMR (then known as the University of Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy). In 1950 he started work at the U.S. Geological Survey in Rolla, where he worked until his retirement in 1981.

"Being a graduate of civil engineering, I’ve often wanted to do something for the school," Baker says, so he chose a gift to help the civil engineering department’s environmental research at UMR. "My wife, Evelyn, passed away in 1995 and she always loved flowers," Baker says. "I’m sure she would have been pleased."

Baker’s donation was used to show the commitment of the university and alumni toward the future of UMR and environmental research and education in a National Science Foundation grant application, which was awarded for more than $750,000 in instrumentation and support.

The greenhouse will provide an additional research facility for UMR undergraduates enrolled in the state’s first environmental engineering degree program, one of the few available in the Midwest. "Being problem-solvers as engineers, defining the problem is the first step," says Dr. Joel Burken, associate professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at UMR. "If we don’t understand the science and the problem, there’s very little chance that we can come up with a good solution."

Students and faculty members in environmental engineering, biological sciences, geological sciences and engineering, and the Environmental Research Center for Emerging Contaminants will share the greenhouse facility.

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On March 3, 2005. Posted in News