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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI's International Engineering Program finds a new home on Kingston Campus

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 15, 1999 -- The International Engineering Program, a unique and innovative program that allows students to graduate skilled in both engineering and a foreign language, has had a strong presence at the University of Rhode Island since its start in 1987. This year, however, it has also gained a physical presence as the program recently moved into the former SAE fraternity house on Upper College Road.

The house will be open for tours from Noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 16, with an official dedication ceremony at 4 p.m., featuring remarks by Frank Curtin, CEO of Browne and Sharpe in N. Kingstown and URI Provost M. Beverly Swan, among others.

Last year, when the SAE house became vacant, German Professor and International Engineering Program (IEP) director Dr. John Grandin of Wakefield saw a chance to enhance the program by further integrating it into students, residential life. He then made arrangements to lease the property from the fraternity's governing board.

"We really leaped at the opportunity to have the entire program housed under one roof with a residential option for students. It's a new concept, said Grandin.

As part of the lease agreement, the fraternity renovated the house to meet the IEP's specifications. All of the walls, windows, and door frames were replaced and sprinkler, heating, and air-conditioning systems were installed. URI, which has been a strong supporter of the program and the house, built a ramp in front of the house for handicapped access and wired all rooms for Internet access, cable, and phone. Private donors and corporate sponsors donated $100,000 to furnish the rooms.

The final result is a like-new facility that can accommodate up to 40 students. The house features 25 rooms, a guest-faculty mini-apartment, program offices, a laundry room, recreation area, dining room, study hall, and a seminar room.

Twenty URI students and seven students from the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany were the first to occupy the house in November.

"I could not imagine a more ideal place to live than the IEP house. It has an excellent location, is beautifully decorated and furnished, equipped with the latest technological advances, and allows me to live with many intelligent people whose goals are similar to my own, said sophomore electrical engineering major Michael Smith, of Highland, N.Y.

"The IEP was strong before the house was in existence, but now it is even stronger. The IEP house is a physical representation of who we are and where we are going, said Smith.

The IEP is a five-year program in which graduates earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in a language and a Bachelor of Science degree in a selected field of engineering. The curriculum consists of intensive language courses in German, French, or Spanish; several upper level engineering classes taught in that foreign language, and a six month internship overseas at an engineering firm. Many students also opt to spend a semester studying abroad to further absorb the culture.

The program was the first of its kind across the nation, and has been cited as a national model for international engineering programs. The University of Connecticut and RICE University in Texas are currently developing programs based on URI's model. The program has received a prestigious national award for innovation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology and has a 100 percent employment rate. Past graduates have gone to work with prestigious firms both locally, such as Brown and Sharpe in N. Kingstown, and abroad, such as DaimlerChrysler in Germany.

For More Information: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-2116
 

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