Dr. Stephen Ayers

It’s a New Day for Civil Engineering Center

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by Heidie Raine, Student Public Relations Writer

Civil engineering bridge building classCedarville University’s new Civil Engineering Center, which opened at the start of the current academic year, will be dedicated on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

The center, equipped with nine labs, two large classrooms, six faculty offices and wing lounges, will provide students with an environment designed for the hands-on, kinesthetic-type of learning beneficial to civil engineering.

“The best way to produce an engineer is to get someone to engineer,” Dr. Stephen Ayers, professor of civil engineering and assistant dean for the school of engineering and computer science, said. 

“All engineers are problem-solvers. For civil engineers, those problems often involve tangible things we can touch and see and feel. Finding solutions means we need to interact with a physical context, and this new facility creates the type of environment where we can do just that.”

With 64 students currently enrolled, the civil engineering major has more than doubled its expected number of students since its first class in 2018. Ayers and the faculty anticipate further growth in the program as a result of the new Civil Engineering Center.

"It excites me to watch students begin to adopt this new facility as their home,” Ayers shared. “They become this united group on the same mission, and it’s incredible to watch students using the spaces we specifically designed for community to remind each other that they’re on this journey together.”

“It has always been one of my passions to build a program that would produce a generation of civil engineers who could use their skill set as a vehicle to go into the world and touch individuals through the essential service they provide,” Ayers said.

Civil engineering is focused primarily on the basic physical infrastructures needed for societies to function well, such as buildings, water supply, roads and pollution management.

“People not being able to get to where they need to because of bad roads, or getting sick because of diseased water, or hospitals not having the underlying infrastructure they need to function — those are all challenges in the civil engineer’s domain,” Ayers noted. “The fact that we can go into a place and then make this tangible difference in people’s lives gives us an opportunity to speak beyond just the technical challenges.”

Ayers looks forward to celebrating the center’s opening with supporters and donors who foresaw, believed in and supported its vision. He is also grateful for Cedarville’s commitment to the building project, despite unexpected costs and the impact of COVID-19. 

“At the end of the day, it’s a nice building, but it won’t stay shiny forever,” Ayers added. “What matters isn’t the building but what will happen inside of it. There are lives being changed by being involved in this program, and I am grateful we are backed by an institution and supporters that care about that.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering program, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.