Environmental engineering students at Valparaiso University will study and learn in a new laboratory when the program begins in fall 2019. The facility is made possible with the support of Richard “Dick” Beumer ’59, a longtime benefactor of Valpo. Beumer’s gift will be used to equip an environmental engineering lab for the new program.

The facility will provide hands-on learning experiences for engineering students. Junior and senior civil and environmental engineering students will conduct experiments to determine the biological, chemical and physical characteristics of water samples representing potential water supply sources. Freshmen students will use the equipment and instruments to complete their multidisciplinary projects. In addition, the lab will support undergraduate research projects in civil and environmental engineering.

“I am blessed to be in a position to support Valpo, a place that is very special to me,” Dick Beumer said. “I hope this gift for the environmental engineering lab will provide a facility to train and educate engineers for many years to come. If so, this is a wonderful investment.”

The field of environmental engineering is designed to protect and improve our world and the quality of life of people living in it. The technical expertise of environmental engineers is used to develop innovative, sustainable solutions to all types of global problems surrounding the air, water and soil. Their skills are more important today than ever due to population growth and the rising standard of living of societies worldwide, resulting in additional environmental challenges such as providing clean air and water to all people.

Regionally, there is a significant need for environmental engineers in Northwest Indiana due to the presence of heavy industry, such as steel mills, and challenges around clean air and water. Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a solid job outlook, with a projected 8 percent increase in jobs from 2016 to 2026.

“All of the students, faculty and staff at the College of Engineering are grateful for Dick Beumer’s support,” said Eric W. Johnson ’87, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering. “The lab will help launch the new degree program and provide a great teaching and learning facility for our students and faculty.”

Dick Beumer earned his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Valparaiso University. He is an emeritus member of the University Board of Directors, serving from 1990 to 2016, received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1982 and was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.

The $500,000 gift for the environmental engineering lab supports Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future. Forever Valpo is a $250 million campaign focused on raising permanent support for student scholarships, faculty development and programs that prepare students for lives of leadership, service and generosity. The Campaign was officially launched on Sept. 23, 2016, and has raised more than $193 million.