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U of I Breaks Ground On ‘Transformation’ Of Mechanical Engineering Building


An artist rendering of the Mechanical Engineering Building, which is set to open in 2021. Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois

The University of Illinois broke ground Friday afternoon on what’s being called a “transformation” of its Mechanical Engineering Building.

The $41 million addition and renovation to MEB was made possible through a donation from 1981 graduate Sidney Lu, who came to Illinois from Taiwan to study. Lu is the first chairman and CEO of Foxconn Interconnect Technology Limited, a subsidiary of electronic manufacturing giant Foxconn, which is widely known for making iPad and iPhone products.

Speaking at the groundbreaking, Vice Chancellor and Provost Andreas Cangellaris played up Lu’s credentials as a self-made businessman who, as a first year student at the U of I, took 58 course credit hours, nearly twice that of the average student.

“We are here today to celebrate this new mechanical engineering building because the Lu family embraced the opportunities at Illinois in ways that you can see the result today,” Cangellaris said. 

The new facility at Green and Goodwin in Urbana will feature a makers space, a senior design studio and a new community space that will include a Starbucks coffee shop. Construction begins in May, and the building is expected to be completed in the summer of 2021.

The groundbreaking ceremony also included remarks from Lu, who said he hopes the new building “helps plant the seed for learning, innovation and collaboration.”