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Donald Flugrad, Engineering, (515) 294-9415
Jodi Andersen, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-0909
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- Engineering students at Iowa State University will get state-of-the-art, hands-on experience and an edge in the job market, thanks to James and Gayle Boyd. The Marshalltown couple recently made a gift to Iowa State University to create the Boyd Product Realization Laboratory.

The laboratory will be housed in Gary and Donna Hoover Hall, now under construction. The laboratory and its equipment will allow Iowa State students to visualize product design and manufacturing methods and develop techniques to improve them.

"We want the laboratory to offer hands-on experience to students," said Jim Boyd, a 1938 ISU graduate in mechanical engineering. "Top-notch jobs require at least a basic level of experience with such equipment."

"ISU engineering students will utilize the multidisciplinary experiences and knowledge they gain in the James and Gayle Boyd Product Realization Laboratory throughout their careers," said Donald Flugrad, associate professor of mechanical engineering and chair of a committee that is establishing the Boyd Laboratory. "The lab will make our program a model for hands-on, learning-based education in product realization."

At 2,900 square feet (net), the Boyd Laboratory will be the largest laboratory in Hoover Hall. When completed in 2003, the $20-million, 51,000 square-foot (net) Hoover Hall will provide enhanced engineering education with high-tech classrooms and several laboratories. Hoover Hall is phase II of Iowa State's Engineering Teaching and Research Complex and will complement Howe Hall (phase I).

The high-tech Boyd Laboratory will provide undergraduate students with comprehensive engineering design, analysis and fabrication experiences throughout their engineering education.

"We want this laboratory to give Iowa State another essential tool in bringing students to the university and to mechanical engineering," Boyd said.

The Boyd Laboratory will feature four learning-based instructional centers that will focus on product development:
  • a classroom designed for collaborative interaction among students and faculty;
  • an analysis center equipped with integrated software tools and computer workstations;
  • six high-tech meeting rooms where student teams can brainstorm, analyze and propose solutions to design projects and problems;
  • a fabrication center where students can make products from computer-aided design drawings and gain hands-on experiences with mechanical processes.
After Jim Boyd graduated from Iowa State, he was employed by Fisher Controls, Marshalltown. He rose in the company to positions in design and administration, retiring as senior vice president in 1988. He and Gayle have three sons, all of whom graduated from Iowa State, as did a granddaughter.

Jim Boyd is past president and member of the Iowa State Alumni Association's board and recipient of the ISU Alumni Medal.

The couple has requested that the amount of their gift, made through the ISU Foundation, not be disclosed. The Iowa State University Foundation is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to securing and managing gifts and grants that benefit Iowa State University.


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Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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