Alumnus donates $7.5 million

The MU engineering department will use the gift for renovations.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:49 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

The building that houses the heart of MU’s engineering programs will be renamed and renovated in the wake of a $7.5 million gift from an alumnus and his wife.

Engineering Building East will be renamed Thomas and Nell Lafferre Hall. The announcement came Friday at a meeting of the University of Missouri Board of Curators in Rolla.

College of Engineering Dean Jim Thompson said he expects that his administrators will soon take actions to officially recognize the building’s new name.

Thomas Lafferre graduated from MU in 1956 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He later joined the agricultural product giant, Monsanto, in St. Louis. He retired from the firm in 1993 as vice president of operations.

Nell Lafferre had attended MU’s College of Education for one year but stopped her education there after the couple relocated.

The gift will be used to plan and construct engineering facilities on campus, Thompson said. “This planning has only just begun,” he said.

The Lafferres’ donation came three months after the college received $1 million from SBC Communications to start a program for information technology studies.

Thompson said he thinks the Lafferres’ gift will help boost the college’s competitiveness and give its students an edge. “Our facilities are very old,” he said, adding that more money will be needed to fully cover the costs of renovation.

Including the new gift, private donations to the Engineering College made as part of the “For All We Call Mizzou” campaign total $30 million, Thompson said. He said he hopes to garner another $10 million by the end of 2005 to meet the campaign goal.

Located at the west side of Francis Quadrangle near Sixth Street, the Engineering Building East houses MU’s mechanical and aerospace, industrial, civil, and environmental and chemical engineering departments.

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