Wilfred Uytengsu, Sr. Center

September 20, 2010

Building Dedication Honors Uytengsu for Gift

Fort Wayne, Ind.—Indiana Tech paid tribute to a generous alumnus with the dedication of the Wilfred Uytengsu, Sr. Center on Saturday, September 18. Uytengsu donated $2 million toward the energy-efficient renovation of the administration center.

The gift announced in March 2010 is the second-largest ever made to the university by an individual.  University officials had looked forward to showing Uytengsu the results of his generosity, but he passed away unexpectedly in April 2010.

“It saddens me that Mr. Fred was taken from his family too soon, that he did not live to accompany them here to see what his philanthropy has brought to Indiana Tech,” President Arthur E. Snyder said in addressing about 300 people gathered for the dedication.

Uytengsu was a 1951 graduate of Indiana Tech with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He was chairman of the board of the largest producer of dairy products in the Philippines, Alaska Milk Corporation, which he started in 1972.  He served on the boards of Universal Foods Corporation of Wisconsin, Kuok Philippine Properties, Inc. and Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Manila, and was owner of Wentworth Development Corporation. He was also the chairman of the Philippine Basketball Association’s Alaska Aces, who have won 13 championships.

Snyder had corresponded with Uytengsu for several months before traveling to the Philippines to meet him early this year. The visit left Snyder profoundly impressed with Uytengsu’s compassion, integrity, and commitment to hard work and education.

“I had no idea what an impact that one visit would have on me,” Snyder said. “Before meeting Mr. Uytengsu I had no idea how deeply a man could value education and love learning.”

Uytengsu’s wife, Bonnie; his children Candace, Michael, and Fred Jr.; and grandson Christian attended the dedication ceremony.

“His legacy is not just a name on a building,” Snyder said.  “His legacy is the example he set for his children, his grandchildren, and all of us by the way he lived.”

In his remarks at the dedication, Fred Uytengsu, Jr. said he was certain his father would have been happy with the renovation and that the scope of the project had exceeded their expectations.

The Wilfred Uytengsu, Sr. Center was built in 1857. The dedication ceremony marked the culmination of a $3.5 million renovation of the administration center which turned the pre-Civil War era building into a showcase of modern energy-efficient design, materials, and technology. A one-hour PBS documentary chronicling the history of the building and the renovation process entitled “Green Renovation: New Life for a 19th Century Building” will debut on WFWA Channel 39 at 8 p.m. September 30.

The design by Viridian Architectural Design preserved the exterior brick shell of the building, windows, and door openings but integrated a new floor and roof system as well as energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems. A $1.34 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy allowed the university to partner with WaterFurnace International on installation of an innovative geothermal heating and cooling system as part of the renovation. The project had an initial goal of achieving LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Level Certification, but has exceeded expectations and has been submitted for Gold Level Certification.

The building provides space for the university’s leadership offices and serves as a living laboratory for the study of sustainability and energy efficiency. Indiana Tech offers a bachelor’s degree in energy engineering, and students and faculty will conduct research studies on the facility’s geothermal system. The first floor of the building includes a Campus Welcome Center, also named in honor of Uytengsu. It houses a gathering area for alumni and visitors, showcases with artifacts from the university’s history, and monitors that display information about the center’s energy usage.


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