UL Contributes $250K to UMD Fire Protection Engineering Legacy Campaign

UL (Underwriters Laboratories) will make a $250,000 investment in the University of Maryland’s (UMD) Department of Fire Protection Engineering. The gift is the largest single donation in the department’s history and will support the Fire Protection Engineering Legacy Campaign for a professor of the practice.

The commitment of support solidifies a longstanding partnership between UL and UMD that was initiated by Dr. John Bryan, the first chair of the Department of Fire Protection Engineering at the university. 

“It is an honor to receive this valued support from such an important industry partner, and we are very pleased to continue this historic relationship with UL,” said the current Chair of Fire Protection Engineering at Maryland, Dr. James Milke, who is also an alumnus. “The uniqueness of our program makes partnerships with industry even more important in advancing the field of fire protection engineering.”

UMD’s Department of Fire Protection Engineering, established in 1956 and part of the A. James Clark School of Engineering, offers the only accredited undergraduate program of its kind in the nation and one of only three graduate programs across the U.S. 

UL is a global independent safety science company with more than a century of expertise innovating safety solutions, from the public adoption of electricity to new breakthroughs in sustainability, renewable energy and nanotechnology. UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems annually with 20 billion UL Marks appearing on 72,000 manufacturers' products each year. 

“The University of Maryland is a pioneer in Fire Protection Engineering,” said UL Senior Vice President and Public Safety Officer Gus Schaefer. “As the world continues to evolve, new science through innovative research will help address new risks. There is a need for this discipline now more than ever.”

Both Bryan and Milke have served on UL’s Fire Council, and Bryan has been a member of UL’s Board of Trustees. Several UMD faculty members have served on UL’s Standard Technical Panels to assist with standards development. More recently, UL has sponsored UMD research in the area of fire detection. 

As part of the ongoing partnership with Maryland’s Fire Protection Engineering program, UL will provide input on the department’s undergraduate curriculum to help ensure that skills and competencies needed by industry are addressed. Also, UL representatives will participate as guest lecturers in classes and serve on the department’s Board of Visitors. Lastly, UL will offer real-world problems that student teams can address for capstone projects, while also contributing advisors and mentors.  

The UMD Fire Protection Engineering Legacy Campaign for the Professor of Practice was initiated by a group of alumni and university leadership.  A new, endowed professor of the practice faculty position will ensure that the University of Maryland remains at the forefront of Fire Protection Engineering, continuing to supply new engineering leaders to the field and conducting applied research that advances the industry. Total commitments in the campaign are now over $1M. The ultimate goal of the campaign is $2.5M.

For additional information about the UMD Fire Protection Engineering Legacy Campaign, please contact Allison Corbett at acc@umd.edu or Jim Milke at milke@umd.edu.

Published January 13, 2014