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Duke names new engineering building, set to open in January, after long-time donors

<p>An artist's rendering of the Wilkinson Building.</p>

An artist's rendering of the Wilkinson Building.

Duke has named its newest engineering building after a family of donors to the school.

The Wilkinson Building is named after Jerry Wilkinson, Pratt ‘67, and his wife Beverly Wilkinson, who have regularly donated to and volunteered with the Pratt School of Engineering for decades. Their most recent contribution was towards the $115 million, 150,000-square-foot building set to open in January 2021. The building will expand Pratt’s current education and programming space by 50%, according to a news release.

“The role of Duke Engineering in helping to solve the grand challenges of our society in health and medicine, environment, energy and many other arenas is clear and present,” the couple stated on Pratt Engineering’s donations webpage. “Our contributions will provide opportunities to others and a legacy that will make us most proud.”

The announcement comes weeks after the University decided to name the department of mechanical engineering and materials science after Thomas Lord, making it the first department at Duke to be named after a donor.

Wilkinson was previously a chair of the Pratt Board of Visitors. He received the Duke Engineering Distinguished Service Award in 1997 and the Duke Alumni Association’s Charles A. Duke Award in 2012. He and Beverly also established two named scholarships and the Wilkinson Family Fellowship, in addition to naming the Jerry C. Wilkinson E’67 Laboratory and the Robert Gordon Wilkinson Center for Engineering Management.

Wilkinson described his Duke education as “transformative,” with the couple even including the University in their will.


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