McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering breaks ground on new student centre dedicated to hands-on learning

October 7, 2015

HAMILTON, October 7, 2015 – Faculty, students and honoured guests gathered Wednesday morning to celebrate the official groundbreaking of the new $11-million Gerald Hatch Centre for Engineering Experiential Learning.

McMaster Engineering undergraduate students contributed $2-million and helped design the three-storey, 28,000-square-foot building, which will be a hub for several engineering teams, clubs, societies, student support services and collaborative workspace. Construction is expected to be complete by early 2017.

The building’s namesake, Gerald G. Hatch, the late founder and first president of the global engineering consultancy Hatch, generously donated $2 million toward the project.  As well, several Hatch employees contributed funds with the company matching donations, totalling more than $1 million. Gennum Corporation co-founder Doug & June Barber contributed $1.5 million and former Chairman and CEO of the Timberland Group of Companies Walter G. Booth donated $1 million.  

“We are pleased to break ground on a very significant milestone for the students of McMaster Engineering,” said Ishwar Puri, McMaster's Dean of Engineering.

“The vision for the Hatch Centre unites a sustainable building with enriched programming. Both have been designed to enhance the experiential learning of our students and to inspire them to become engaged citizen scholars who will transform the world.”

A long-standing supporter of McMaster and higher education, Hatch will be receiving the top philanthropy award for 2015 from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in part for its commitment to the Hatch Centre and engineering student scholarships.

“For nearly 30 years, Hatch has been proud to support McMaster University and the School of Engineering, which provides students with exceptional learning opportunities and practical engineering experience,” states Kurt Strobele, Chairman at Hatch. “The new Hatch Centre represents our continuing commitment to McMaster and its students, as they realize their potential to engineer for a better world.”

Equipped with meeting rooms, large building spaces and shared workspaces, the Hatch Centre has been designed as a hub for the Faculty’s 5,000 undergraduate engineering students to collaborate on projects and share ideas to foster experiential learning and support work being done in the classroom.

"The Hatch Centre will greatly enhance the McMaster Engineering undergraduate experience,” said Ryan Rogers, president of the McMaster Engineering Society. “For the first time in McMaster Engineering's history, students will have a space to house their extracurricular groups, teams and projects. One of the greatest aspects of McMaster Engineering, our unique community and student body, will have a home and this centre will undoubtedly help generate effective student leaders for years to come.”

The Hatch centre will also serve as a ‘living lab’ to study integrated energy systems for urban use. Mechanical engineer Jim Cotton and a multidisciplinary team of 15 other researchers will work with undergraduate and graduate students to offer them hands-on experience in energy research.
For more information on the Hatch Centre go to

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