The University Record, November 20, 2000

New building supported by $5 million Gerstacker gift

From the College of Engineering

Esther Gerstacker, widow of Carl Gerstacker, at last week’s groundbreaking. With her is her son, state Sen. Bill Schuette. Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services
Thanks in large measure to the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation of Midland, the College of Engineering soon will be able to consolidate research efforts in several key areas of engineering in a single, well-equipped laboratory facility.

Ground was broken Nov. 13 for the facility, which will be built on to the IST High-Bay Building on North Campus. Funded partially by a $5 million gift from the Gerstacker Foundation, the facility will be named in honor of Carl A. Gerstacker, former chairman of Dow Chemical Co. and a 1938 Michigan engineering alumnus. Gerstacker received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the U-M in 1993. He died in 1995.

Within its 31,000 square feet of space, the Gerstacker facility will include the following:

  • Administrative and faculty offices for the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

  • Laboratories for biomedical engineering faculty conducting research relating to medical imaging, pulmonary mechanics, and molecular and cellular biomechanics.

  • Laboratories for the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science, focusing on the development and application of high-peak-power lasers for advanced eye surgery.

  • Research space for the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

    “This gift is significant,” noted Stephen Director, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, “because it allows us to bring these critical research efforts together under one roof, encouraging collaboration among faculty and students as well as achieving an efficient use of physical resources.”

    The gift is the largest the Gerstacker Foundation has made to any recipient organization in its 43-year history. “With this funding, we demonstrate our continuing commitment to the University of Michigan and to teaching and research that has the potential to impact society for years to come,” noted Foundation president Gail Lanphear. Other Foundation officers are Lisa Gerstacker, E.N. Brandt, Esther Gerstacker, Bill Schuette and Alan Ott. Trustees are Paul Oreffice, Jean Popoff, Frank Gerace, William Stavropoulos, Alexio Baum and Thomas Ludington.

    This latest gift increases to more than $8 million the total amount awarded by the Foundation to the College of Engineering. Past contributions have supported endowments for graduate fellowships and faculty development.