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Building Dedications Friday
For more information on this story contact:
Email:Marcia Goodrich
Phone:906/487-2343


APRIL 25, 2005 -- On Friday, April 29, Michigan Technological University will dedicate three structures: the John and Ruanne Opie Library, Kanwal and Ann Rekhi Hall, and the Advanced Technology Development Complex.

The dedication of the Advanced Technology Development Complex is set for 1:30 p.m. Ceremonies for the Opie Library and the adjacent Rekhi Hall begin at 3:30 p.m.

State Rep. Rich Brown (D-Ironwood) and State Sen. Mark Prusi (D-Ishpeming) are expected to attend the dedications. John and Ruann Opie and Kanwal and Ann Rekhi will be on hand at ceremonies for the buildings named in their honor. Dan Kapp, executive director of powertrain operations for Ford Motor Company, will attend the ATDC dedication.

The 27,000-square-foot ATDC includes the Ford Student Design Center, named after the building's lead donor, the Ford Motor Company Fund, which contributed $1.1 million toward the $3.6 million facility. The $2.5 million balance was provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The design center provides space for undergraduate research programs, including senior design and Enterprise.

The center also includes space for high-tech business starts-ups, prototyping, research, testing laboratories for the Keweenaw Research Center and the Michigan Department of Community Health, conference space, and MTU's Corporate Services and the Michigan Tech Enterprise SmartZone. It also provides the most advanced, high-speed Internet in the Upper Peninsula.

Joined by a second-story glass and steel bridge, Rekhi Hall and the Opie Library incorporate the latest technologies to support education and research. Construction on the $35 million complex began in 2003 and was made possible in part by gifts of $5 million each from John and Ruann Opie, of Fairfield, Conn., and Kanwal and Ann Rekhi, of Monte Sereno, Calif.

The 54,000-square-foot Opie Library features a soaring wall of glass, a striking addition to the J. R. Van Pelt Library, which was completely renovated as part of the project. The Opie Library includes 22 small-group study rooms, which serve Michigan Tech's emphasis on team learning. It is equipped with 27 public computers and an information wall that provides the latest on library and campus activities, as well as a steady stream of news and weather.

The addition increases the facility's electronic services, including wireless access and a digital studio that allows students and faculty to integrate information from print, the Internet, sound recordings and video into their work.

Rekhi Hall features distinctive copper architecture and centralized space for the Department of Computer Science. Its labs and research spaces are easily adaptable to allow for future innovations in computing.

Rekhi Hall adds 51,000 square feet to Fisher Hall, which opened in 1964 and originally housed the mathematics and physics programs, and, later, computer science. Facilities for computer science students, faculty and staff have been inadequate, scattered among three buildings.

Rekhi Hall provides new classrooms-two equipped for high-tech instruction and two equipped to support distance learning-and it houses several general purpose labs and nine specialty labs, as well as the Computer Science Learning Center.

John Opie graduated from Michigan Tech in 1961 with a BS in Metallurgical Engineering. He joined General Electric Company after graduation and went on to become national sales manager; general manager for three business groups; vice president of three operations; president and chief executive officer of GE Lighting; and, in 1995, vice chairman of the board and executive officer of the parent company, serving until his retirement in 2000.

The Opies are long-standing supporters of Michigan Tech. John Opie served as vice chair of the Century II Campaign in the mid-1980s; he also is a life trustee of the Michigan Tech Fund, having served for 13 years on that board, including two as president. He received the Board of Control Silver Medal in 1984; the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1992; and became a member of the Academy of Metallurgical and Materials Engineers in 1996.

He was MTU's commencement speaker in 1987, when he received an honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree, and again in 2000, when he received an honorary Doctor of Business Degree.

Kanwal Rekhi, a native of India, graduated from Michigan Tech in 1969 with an MS in Electrical Engineering. A visionary in the technology industry, he has been active in the Silicon Valley community of entrepreneurs. He is head of Ensim Corporation, a global leader in hosting automation software.

In 1982, he founded Excelan, a pioneering computer networking company, which merged with Novell, Inc., in 1989. Rekhi became executive vice president and led the firm's product development and technology strategies, including Novell's UNIX systems group. After leaving Novell, he went to work at Intellimatch, an Internet database service, and CyberMedia.

He now invests in companies that concentrate on software and networking systems. He has been recognized for his commitment to technology and business startups and was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Venture magazine in 1987. In 1994 he co-founded a nonprofit association that promotes wealth creation through entrepreneurship. The organization, based in California, has spread worldwide from its start with helping immigrants from India.

The Rekhis have long supported Michigan Tech. Kanwal Rekhi has received the Board of Control Silver Medal and an honorary Doctorate in Business and Engineering. He is a member of the Electrical Engineering Academy.

Michigan Tech (www.mtu.edu) is ranked among the top public universities in the country by US News and World Report. The university has one of the largest engineering programs in the country and offers quality programs in the sciences, business, communications, and forestry and environmental sciences.

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