The rededication of Sill Hall, home of the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology, included the naming ceremony of two labs within the building named after two Eastern Michigan University alumni on April 23.
The opening celebration kicked off with some words from EMU’s President James Smith at 3 p.m. Following the speeches, the dedication of the Woods Construction Management Lab took place at 4 p.m. and then the naming of the Jack E. Roush Automotive Lab at 5 p.m. The labs were named in honor of two top business leaders, Jack Roush, founder and chairman of Roush Enterprises and John Bodary, president of Woods Construction.
The Jack E. Roush Automotive Lab is named in honor of motorsports legend and EMU alumnus Jack E. Roush. He was known in the automotive industry and was chosen to be in the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2017 and the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2019.
The Woods Construction Construction Management Lab is named after the Woods Construction and its founding president, John Bodary’s, commitment to the university for the past 30 years. He and his wife have created scholarships for students and have provided outstanding support for the construction program. They both have contributed by going beyond the limit for EMU and the students.
EMU funded the $40 million investment to renovate and renew the near 60-year-old Sill Hall building. The plans began in January 2019 and originally were set to be a 16 month project, but due to the pandemic, it was delayed and completed around January 2021.
GameAbove donated additional funding for equipment, along with the help of development of the laboratories and sponsoring research activities inside the building.
Mohamad Qatu, dean of GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology, explained the different labs and what students can do throughout the building.
“We have several state of the art labs like virtual reality, cyber security, robotics, 3D printing, drone technology, and several other areas and fields for students,” Qatu said.
In addition to the multiple different courses offered, there are also multiple areas for students to do projects, socialize, or just relax.
“I think our ultimate goal is to be a leader in the community,” Qatu said. “Faculty will now have the infrastructure to conduct state of the art research and develop projects for students.”
He explained the importance of creating a better learning environment for the students and encouraged them to accomplish something they wouldn’t have access to before.
“I dream of students being able to reach whatever their aspiration is,” Smith said. “We built the building so students can live their dreams.”
Smith believes having access to Sill Hall allows students a greater opportunity to accomplish their goals. This will be the first renovation of many within the next five years, and he hopes the advancements will transform the campus.
“We want parents and guardians to see the building, as well as students,” Smith said. “We want people in the business community as a place to come to look for interns.”
Creating a space that is up to date with technology allows students to thrive and grow outside of the classroom.
“They’ll learn things about the newest elements of technology, and the laboratories will allow them to do some more exploration,“ Smith said.
Raymond Williams, a senior at EMU and volunteer for GameAbove, calls Sill Hall a great new spot for studying and having fun while learning.
“Once I got to this building, I met a couple people that were dedicated and staying late studying,” Williams said. “It was just motivation. I saw my peers doing the same thing as me because we’re trying to get to the same place, and this building helps that a lot.”
For more information on the renovations or the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology, visit the website.