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Smith College Breaks Ground On Ford Hall; New Home For Picker Engineering Program To Be Certified "Green" Facility


Smith College and Ford Motor Company celebrated the groundbreaking today for Ford Hall, a $73 million dollar sciences and engineering facility that will serve as home for the college’s Picker Engineering Program. The Ford Motor Company Fund’s $10 million lead gift, pledged in 2001, represents the company’s strong commitment to advancing opportunities for women in engineering. In addition to the building investment, the Ford Motor Company Fund has contributed an additional $2.6 million for a variety of activities in support of the engineering program at Smith, including scholarships, curriculum development, K-12 outreach programs, and sustainability efforts on campus.

“We are proud to be the lead donor for Ford Hall and a strong supporter of the Picker Engineering Program at Smith College,” said Nancy Gioia, director of Ford Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle Programs. “There is a critical need in this country for more young women to pursue careers in engineering and scientific fields. It is our hope that the partnership between Ford and Smith on this front will serve as a model public-private partnership for others to follow. We are particularly pleased that sustainability is a cornerstone of both the curriculum of the Picker program and the design of Ford Hall.”

Ford Hall will be certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “green” facility when it opens in 2009. The facility, the first LEED-certified structure to be built on the Smith College campus, will incorporate green roofs, porous pavement, vegetated swales and environmentally responsible mechanical systems. A student design team, under the supervision of project professionals, developed a unique combined heat and power cogeneration system which will be used to support a portion of Ford Hall’s energy needs through renewable means. Smith will seek to install other innovative energy technologies including fuel cells and solar panels to provide additional environmental and financial benefits.

“The building itself will function as a teaching tool, giving students and faculty access to many of its sophisticated mechanical systems and monitors,” said Thomas Litwin, director of Smith College’s Clark Science Center and a member of the building’s sustainability subcommittee.

The emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency for Ford Hall will place the building in the forefront of energy efficient architecture. The building’s designers incorporated numerous initiatives to reduce the consumption of energy resources and the cost of operation. In addition, Ford Hall will serve as a learning lab and a teaching tool for sustainable design. The emphasis on sustainability in the new building is the largest undertaking in a campus-wide effort by Smith College to promote and implement energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.

Established in 1999, Smith’s Picker Engineering Program is the nation’s first and only accredited all-women engineering program. It is focused on developing broadly educated, well-rounded engineers capable of assuming leadership roles in corporations, non-profit organizations and technology related fields. Thirty percent of Smith students major in the sciences – more than three times the national average.

Smith College is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country, enrolling 2,800 students from nearly every state and 61 countries. By linking the power of the liberal arts to excellence in research and scholarship, Smith is developing leaders for society’s challenges.

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 260,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit


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