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$15 million gift boosts MU: Generac founder, wife designate funds for planned engineering center

By ERICA PEREZ
eperez@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Oct. 29, 2007

Marquette University's College of Engineering has received a $15 million gift from Generac Power Systems Inc. founder Robert Kern and his wife, Patricia, to help pay for a new building, college officials announced Monday.

When completed, the Discovery Learning Complex on W. Wisconsin Ave. between N. 16th and N. 17th streets will integrate classrooms, teaching labs, research facilities and office space to encourage hands-on, multidisciplinary learning and will help produce graduates who are more entrepreneurial and innovative, officials said. Administrators hope to break ground on the project in the 2008-'09 academic year.

"The Kerns have long recognized the important role science, technology, engineering and mathematics education play in the future of our community - and our country," said Stan Jaskolski, dean of the College of Engineering at Marquette. "Their generosity brings us closer to the dream of a new building that will blend theory and the real-world practice of research and development."

The Kerns declined to be interviewed Monday but released a written statement: "We are pleased to be a part of this exciting commitment by the Marquette University College of Engineering," they wrote. "It is compatible with our belief that future generations will be increasingly dependent on expanding science and engineering technology by talented, educated engineers."

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