April 26, 2017, BY Christina Masciere Wallace

Richard Garman '56 often describes his experience as a Bucknell University student as brief, but extremely impactful. In return, he is leaving his own lasting impression on the University and its students for generations to come. The retired construction executive has given $6 million toward Bucknell's next academic building, Academic East. The proposed facility will expand engineering laboratory space by 50 percent and further distinguish Bucknell in human health education.

President John Bravman lauded the generosity and foresight of Garman, who was honored with the college's Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award in 2005.  

"Dick and his family recognize Bucknell's position as a leader in undergraduate engineering education and are committed to strengthening that position," said Bravman. "We are grateful not only for this gift, which will help fulfill our vision for Academic East, but also for the Garman family's long-standing support of our College of Engineering."

The building will add 75,000 square feet of space for student and faculty research, laboratory instruction, design studios and offices. Facing Academic West, it will form the east side of a new quad extending south from Bertrand Library.  

The biomedical engineering department, Bucknell's principal driver of health care innovation, will relocate to Academic East, enhancing research collaboration and instruction. The new facility will serve as a nexus for the interdisciplinary Bucknell-Geisinger Research Initiative, a partnership in which students and faculty team with doctors and researchers at Geisinger Health System to explore pressing challenges in health care.  

Engineering will share Academic East with the Department of Education, which will relocate from the Olin Science Building, bringing that program closer to the social science departments housed in Academic West and strengthening education-engineering collaborations. In addition to providing office space for education faculty, Academic East will include a teaching lab and collaborative workspace for students, enhancing opportunities for hands-on learning.  

The facility will house more than two dozen laboratories, expanding opportunities for student and faculty research. New labs will include spaces for the study and testing of medical equipment, energy usage, water quality, transportation, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, air quality and food.  

These state-of-the-art facilities will greatly enhance hands-on learning for engineering students, said Dean of Engineering Pat Mather.  

"One of the deepest educational experiences students can have is in a research laboratory," Mather said. "You remember the things you personally experienced. If you see a concept come to life, in your hands, with your eyes, you will never forget — even when things don't go the way you expect them to."  

The WE DO Campaign  
The Board of Trustees last October authorized design development of Academic East and is expected to review a request to authorization of finished designs at its meeting in late April. Construction of the building will depend on additional fundraising and Board approval. | The Opportunities Ahead: Academic East  

WE DO, The Campaign for Bucknell University, recently surpassed the $450 million milestone, putting it less than $50 million away from its half-a-billion-dollar goal, which it aims to reach this summer. The most ambitious campaign in University history, it offers myriad opportunities at all gift levels, in all areas, for Bucknellians to support current and future students.