The has announced a $3 million gift from the estate of alumnus Dana C. Wood, who died in 2013, in support of its .
A portion of the bequest, $1.5 million, will be used to fund construction of a 7,000-square-foot space on the ground floor of the Farris Engineering Center for the . In recognition of the largest cash donation in the history of the engineering school, the space will be named the Dana C. Wood FSAE Racing Lab. Housed in the and currently located in the basement of the Mechanical Engineering Building, the FSAE program designs and builds a race car ever year which competes in an international contest.
In addition, $1 million of the gift will endow the Dana C. Wood Chair for Advanced Construction Materials and Technologies within the university's , while the remaining $500,000 will be used to upgrade the department's 4,600-square-foot structures and materials lab as well as its civil engineering computer lab, which will be renamed the Dana C. Wood Materials, Structures and Computer Lab.
A native of Gallup, New Mexico, Wood received a bachelor's degree in 1977 and a master's degree in 1990 from UNM, both in civil engineering. He later led Diginetics, a firm that developed one of the first CAD programs for civil engineering as well as software called PowerMerge, which, in the days before the Internet and "cloud" technologies, synced a user's files on different computers. The Wood family previously donated $150,000 to UNM for an endowed scholarship for engineering students and $750,000 to the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center, where Wood received cancer treatment.
"We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Wood family for these gifts," said Christos Christodoulou, Jim and Ellen King dean of engineering and computing. "They will benefit the school and students in several important ways and will go a long way toward enhancing our reputation among peers and prospective students."