The new civil engineering research center at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park in Fayetteville will be named in honor of Grady Harvell.
The Grady E. Harvell Civil Engineering Research and Education Center will feature a “high-bay structural testing facility” with an array of unique attributes, including a four-foot-thick strong floor and a 25-ton rail crane to move heavy materials.
Harvell, the president and chief operating officer of W&W|AFCO Steel’s AFCO division, provided an estate gift commitment enabling the project to hit its fundraising goal. He is also a University of Arkansas alumnus, having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1972.
“I’ve had a successful career because of my engineering degree,” Harvell said in a statement. “I got my degree through the efforts of people who were engineers decades before me. I had a scholarship from a gentleman in the College of Engineering Hall of Fame who graduated in 1910 – the Sam and Mary Blair Scholarship. I’m trying to give back to the organization that helped me realize the success I’ve had.”
According to Harvell, the new facility will enable students and faculty to advance their research and will should prove attractive for new students and researchers.
“Structural engineering has always been a passion of mine,” he said. “When I was in school, we had a very basic testing lab down in the basement of what’s now John A. White Jr. Engineering Hall. I did elementary lab tests there to get my B.S. degree. I’ve recognized the need for a modern structures lab since the mid-’90s when I reengaged with the University — this is phase one of the civil engineering research facility we envision. Civil engineers design and build our infrastructure and these research facilities will provide the means to enhance the education of our future generations of designers and builders.”