Casey Wilson/The Daily
Representatives from OU and ExxonMobil dedicated the ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility on Monday.
OU President David Boren said the new facility will only reach its full potential with students’ innovation and inventions.
“As great as the physical faculties may be, it will not greatly add to the benefit of our society; it’s what goes on inside it,” Boren said. “It’s the vitality of what goes on inside it.”
Donald Humphreys, senior vice president and treasurer of ExxonMobil Corporation, said the company has a long history of a great partnership with OU, and it relies on engineers for almost every part of its business.
“Today, I think it’s clear that our highly technological society depends enormously on good engineering and good engineers for prosperity and progress,” Humphreys said.
With a facility that is the first of its kind, OU is serious about preparing its graduates for the worldwide stage, he said.
Getting a head start in preparing all students for the global community, the facility also will host school-age children to teach them about engineering, Humphreys said.
“We must do a better job of preparing our children for the 21st century,” he said.
Tom Landers, dean of the OU College of Engineering, said the practice facility is a place where students can experience a learning community.
“Here, students will learn to invent, to create jobs and enhance our quality of life,” Landers said.
The university will provide the students at the practice facility with mentors and tools, and it also will challenge student teams to compete at the championship level, he said.
Nicholas Goree, petroleum engineering senior, said he is excited for the possibilities the building will provide for all engineering students.
Goree said everything in the building is geared toward hands-on engineering, including the large project bay that will allow students to work on project designs and implementations.
“All of these factors combine to make the Lawrence G. Rawl Practice Facility a one of a kind building,” Goree said.
Carrie Quirk, University College freshman, said she is studying industrial engineering, and the practice facility will help every engineering student at OU achieve his or her goals.
As an industrial engineer, Quirk said, she will not have any trouble finding a job after college.
“Who knows, maybe I’ll even work for ExxonMobil in honor of the donation that makes this practice facility possible,” she said.