Earlier this evening, during a reception thanking donors who have supported the university’s current fundraising effort, Beyond These Towers: The Campaign for WPI, Jack Mollen, Chair of WPI’s Board of Trustees, surprised guests with an announcement that the building on WPI’s campus currently known as the “Project Center” will be named the Laurie A. Leshin Global Project Center in honor of the university’s 16th president. WPI announced in January that Leshin would be leaving WPI in May to become the first woman to serve as Director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), one of our nation’s leading space exploration organizations with a focus on using robotic spacecraft to advance humanity’s understanding of the Earth, Solar System, and beyond.
“Naming a building on a college campus recognizes commitment: to the university, to its mission and values, and to its community,” said Mollen “Laurie Leshin, WPI’s first woman president, has been a transformational leader who has tremendously helped the growth of this university from a regional engineering school to a globally recognized STEM institution with a flourishing research enterprise. Over the past eight years, President Leshin has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to WPI, and has led the university to profound accomplishments. For decades WPI was described as a hidden gem, and Laurie helped make this gem of academia shine like a beacon of knowledge and inspiration. She is an inspirational model for how to lead a life of curiosity, perseverance, insight, integrity, and excellence, and it is especially fitting that the same building used by WPI alum Robert Goddard, who is known around the world as the father of modern rocketry, should now be named for Laurie Leshin as she leaves WPI to become the next Director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.”