UW-Green Bay Announces New Mechanical Engineering Program

Project Helped By Major Private Donation From Furniture CEO

A student studying at UW-Green Bay
A student studying at the Cofrin Library on UW-Green Bay’s campus. Cofrin Library (CC-BY)

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has announced a new mechanical engineering program, funded in part by a $5 million private donation.

The gift comes from Richard Resch, CEO of the Green Bay-based office furniture manufacturer KI and the new school will be named in his honor.

Resch said his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from MIT, “served me well for many, many years. It also got me into Harvard Business School where I learned a lot about business.”

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Resch said northeastern Wisconsin needs a larger engineering program, “I think this community is large enough.”

Wisconsin Public Service Corp. is also giving $1 million to the project through their charitable giving foundation. The school has a total projected cost of $13 million, not including the construction of a new campus building. Brown County and the state of Wisconsin are each putting $5 million toward the construction of a new building that also will house UW-Extension, Brown County Land and Water Conservation and the Einstein Project.

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller said the school already offers programs in engineering technology, environmental engineering and electrical engineering but local companies have said they need more mechanical engineers.

Kevin Fletcher, president of WPS, said his company hires engineers from across the state.

“There’s a growing need,” Fletcher said. “So having an engineering opportunity within the region, it made sense for us to help people who want to study engineering to study here in Green Bay and stay here in Green Bay.”

Miller said the school is pursuing public and private sources to cover the remaining costs. The school will start enrolling mechanical engineering majors in the fall of 2018. Construction on the new building is set for spring of 2019.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that the donation from WPS came from the company’s charitable giving foundation.