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FPE Receives Largest Gift in History

FPE Receives Largest Gift in History

Fire protection engineering students and researchers at the Clark School will soon be able to conduct fire experiments in a new, one-of-a-kind laboratory, so one day the world’s largest companies won’t get burned.

A $135,000 gift from FM Global, one of the world's largest business property insurers, will establish the lab in the Clark School’s Department of Fire Protection Engineering. The work conducted by students and faculty in the new lab will help advance the field of fire science and engineering to help reduce risk and improve prevention of fire, the leading cause of commercial and industrial property destruction worldwide.

"FM Global's contributions are truly exceptional and come at a pivotal moment in our history," said Marino di Marzo, professor and chair of the fire protection engineering department. "FM Global's support will leave a tremendous imprint on our research and recruitment programs for many years to come."

The new FM Global Fire Phenomena Laboratory will offer a controlled environment so students and researchers can conduct sophisticated laboratory-scale fire experiments. The knowledge gained will help to improve fire models that contribute to better loss prevention practices.

Located in the Clark School's newly renovated J.M. Patterson Building, the 1,000-square foot lab will feature a salt-water facility for exploring fire-induced flows, a vibration-isolated optical breadboard for studying detailed flame characteristics and modular workspaces for a variety of bench-scale experiments. Current advanced diagnostics like particle image velocimetry, planar laser induced fluorescence and thin filament pyrometry will be used in experiments, as well as the development and application of future diagnostics, which will help to produce tangible improvements in hazard assessment and loss. The new lab is expected to open in April 2008.

FM Global's gift also will create a new FM Global Welcome Center that will serve as the department’s main entrance and reception area, featuring an interactive wall to give fire protection engineering greater prominence as a profession and field of study, and help to recruit prospective students. Fire protection engineering is a highly specialized field, and the Clark School’s Department of Fire Protection Engineering is the only accredited undergraduate fire protection engineering program in the country. The reception area is expected to be completed by September 2007.

"The students who come to the FM Global Welcome Center and work in the lab will become the next generation of fire protection engineers and fire scientists," said Louis Gritzo, vice president and manager of research for FM Global. "The better tools and insight they have, the more effectively they can move the field forward." Gritzo added, "As for FM Global's insured clients, the research will lead to even better ways to protect their operations from fire threats."

To learn more about the Great Expectations campaign and how you can make a difference in the Clark School’s progress, please contact Steve Beeland.

May 10, 2007

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