The ceremonial ribbon was cut May 8 to officially open the Omron Design and Automation Lab in the Dr. Myron Wentz Science Center at North Central College.
“The generosity from the Omron Foundation, Inc., will enable North Central engineering students to learn in a state-of-the-art laboratory with equipment used in industry today,” said Troy D. Hammond, Ph.D., president of North Central College. “The Dr. Myron Wentz Science Center is designed for the 21st century and this shows how responsive it is to our students’ needs.”
“Omron prides itself on its long-term focus, so it is our greatest pleasure to help educate the engineers who will solve tomorrow’s challenges,” says Nigel Blakeway, Omron Americas Corporation CEO and Omron Foundation President. “We are thrilled to be part of the development of such a future-oriented laboratory and to be able to guide students as they begin their engineering journey.”
The Wentz Science Center is equipped to accommodate the most sophisticated hardware, software and cutting-edge technology. The Omron Design and Automation Lab will provide an environment where all engineering students are introduced to design processes and automation systems. The lab will be fully equipped with workstations to enable students to build their own working systems. The Omron Foundation will also offer North Central faculty and students unlimited access to Omron E-learning modules on core technologies such as control, motion, vision, safety and robotics.
“In our engineering programs, the technical focus is on automation and robotics. Omron, as a world leader in these technologies, is a great partner to have as we grow our engineering department,” said Frank Harwath, director of the College’s engineering programs and professor of engineering.
The College will be offering four-year bachelor of science degrees in computer, electrical and mechanical engineering starting with the 2018-2019 academic year.
The Wentz Science Center is a premier destination for STEM education and cutting-edge scientific work. Students of all disciplines now benefit from 18 teaching labs; 16 research labs; 15 classrooms/seminar rooms; a lecture hall; 19 student gathering spaces; 53 faculty offices; a greenhouse; and the Judy G. Stevenson Ratio Hall, a space to accommodate public and academic functions such as the annual Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research.
The ribbon cutting took place at 4 p.m. in the Judy G. Stevenson Ratio Hall at the Wentz Science Center. A reception followed.
“We at North Central value our partnerships with industry-leading companies like Omron,” said Megan Lynch, the College’s director of corporate relations. “Corporate support and involvement connects our students to hands-on learning opportunities and the latest real-world technology.”
Omron Foundation has also supported North Central College’s Japanese language program with grants that allow students to visit Japan each year and study there for terms of 10 weeks or longer. Omron has supported the Japanese language program since 2008 with the aim of helping students improve Japanese-American cross-cultural understanding.