The CSULB College of Engineering on Tuesday dedicated the new Beavers Endowed Chair in Heavy Civil Construction, thanking the Beavers Charitable Trust and lead fundraiser Ralph Larison, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee.
“We are very pleased to be chosen to have this endowed chair be placed in the College of Engineering at Cal State Long Beach,” Dean Forouzan Golshani told invited guests and dignitaries. “We’re very committed to producing the kind of graduates that would be desirable for the companies involved in the Beavers Trust.”
The heavy civil engineering and construction industry employs nearly 1 million people across the country and is one of the fastest-growing engineering sectors, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Besides promoting interest in civil and construction engineering at CSULB, the Beavers Chair will also help develop and enhance partnerships with the heavy civil construction industry, providing hands-on learning for students, and increase internships and provide scholarship funds.
Golshani thanked Larison for spearheading the campaign to raise $500,000 to match the Beavers contribution. “Nothing would have happened without the leadership we’ve seen from Dr. Ralph Larison,” the Dean said. “We’re very, very grateful for all he has done.”
The Beavers Charitable Trust started as a fraternal organization of construction engineers, mainly dam builders like the animal namesake. Today, said Larison, it oversees $20 million in investments.
The U.S. is expected to have a shortage of 5 million workers by 2020, said David Dowell, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President. “And engineering is one of the most important components of that.”
Dowell said student success is a top priority at CSULB. In the College of Engineering, he said, “the number of engineering degrees they’re awarding is soaring. And that’s a high-value degree.”
Golshani said the American Society of Engineering Education ranks the College fourth in the number of bachelor of science degrees per faculty, showing that it’s highly efficient. At the same time, CSULB engineering graduates are seventh in the nation in terms of ROI and earning power, according to Paysscale.com. “This is a pretty good story for investing in this college,” the Dean said.
Dowell said the importance of heavy civil engineering and infrastructure can’t be overestimated. “Heavy civil is something we take for granted. But it is very important to our economy,” he said.