Oregon Tech Dedicates New Laboratory to Alumnus

This article was in Sunday’s (April 21st, 2019) Herald and News
Written By: Holly Owens

Honoring an alumnus who became a mentor to many students, Oregon Tech recently dedicated the new Brian Leach Civil Engineering Design Resource Center within the newly remodeled Cornett Hall, according to a news release. The center honors Leach, a 1995 Oregon Tech civil engineering graduate.

The new laboratory was dedicated Friday, April 5 during a ceremony attended by Leach’s family, colleagues and friends; Oregon Tech Foundation members; as well as several Oregon Tech students, faculty and staff. The naming of the resource center was made possible through a generous contribution from Leach’s family. Dr. Nagi Naganathan, president of Oregon Tech, led the event, which was hosted by the Oregon Tech Foundation.

“We are thankful for the generous contributions of the Leach family, which establishes the Resource Center as both a tribute to Brian and a way to continue his legacy at Oregon Tech,” said Naganathan.

Leach graduated from Sherwood High School, earned his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1995, and passed the professional engineering exam in 1998. He continued his career in the family business, Carlson Testing, and later became one of the principal owners. He served on the Oregon Tech Civil Engineering Industrial Advisory Council (IAC) and acted as an adviser and mentor to the next generation of graduates, until his death in 2016. As a member of the IAC, he provided advice, counsel, and guidance to the Civil Engineering Department to help prepare students for professional practice and leadership roles.

The center is dedicated for student learning and will allow collaborations on projects and testing of ideas — ensuring that civil engineering students have access to technology that fosters their creativity and problem-solving skills and help them become innovative leaders in their field.

Dr. Sean St.Clair, who served as the Chair of the Civil Engineering department during the last decade commented on Brian Leach’s impact on the department. “Our department has undergone many changes while Brian was advising us transitioning from a technology program to an engineering program and then to offering graduate degrees. Brian was always keen to move the profession and our program forward.”

President Naganathan presented the family with special commemorative plaques to celebrate the occasion. “This special endowment will enrich our students’ educational experiences for decades to come,” President Naganathan shared. “We are truly honored to name this student-centered laboratory after Brian Leach.”

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