For 85 years, Lawrence Tech has aimed to make accomplishment a tradition. Here’s a compendium of just a few of these advances, recent and past, that have helped develop the University’s reputation for excellence in Theory and Practice.
A Building Like No Other
Lawrence Tech’s A. Alfred Taubman Students Services Center is a living laboratory of sustainable design and engineering. LEED Silver certified, it was one of the first green buildings built on a college campus when it opened in 2006. Its features include a 10,000-square-foot living green roof, planted with nine species of sedum ground cover, which reduces water runoff: about 60 percent of rainwater is absorbed by the roof and the remainder drains into a 12,000-gallon cistern for use as “gray” water for toilets and irrigation. The building is also geothermally heated and cooled and has no boiler, furnace, or even a gas meter.
It’s Grounds for Support
Lawrence Tech’s campus Quad lies atop a field of 120 geothermal wells sunk 300 feet deep, forming a closed-loop system of tubes, pumps, and fans that utilizes water to heat and cool the Taubman Center. A system of bioswales and long-rooted grasses and trees prevents 60 percent of the rainwater that falls on the Quad from running into the Rouge River, part of a regional effort to control storm water drainage. Planted with Champion Trees, which are clones of the heartiest or most historic trees of their species, the Quad also features a sculpture by internationally renowned artist Beverly Pepper.
Michigan’s First Wireless Laptop Campus
Lawrence Tech began the four-year roll-out of its laptop program with the freshman class of 2000. Since 2004, all LTU undergrads have received high-end laptops (or now tablets) loaded with custom-configured industry-standard software as part of their tuition. Concurrent with the roll-out of the laptop program was the development and expansion of LTU’s Wi-Fi system. By 2002, the entire campus, indoors and out, was Wi-Fi accessible – making LTU the first Michigan college or university to offer that convenience.
The Real Bridge to the Future
The $8 million Bridge Street Bridge in Southfield, designed with advances developed by Lawrence Tech engineers and student researchers, is the nation’s first pre-stressed carbon-fiber reinforced concrete highway bridge. The carbon fiber does not rust, a trait expected to at least double the service life of such bridges, saving billions of tax dollars. The bridge’s performance is continually monitored and compared with the conventional twin built next to it. The project has won dozens of the nation’s top engineering and innovation awards.
LTU’s Center for Innovative Materials Research (CIMR) tests and develops new applications for advanced materials for military, business, and industry uses. It has been instrumental in developing new applications for carbon fiber in bridge construction. The 7,200-square-foot research facility has a 30-foot clearance height and a 25,000-pound crane to accommodate testing of structural components up to 100 feet long under various types of loads up to one million pounds. Other equipment includes a large-scale fire chamber, once featured on the History Channel, that can reach 2,300°F and a full-scale environmental chamber – spacious enough for a large vehicle – that can simulate harsh weather conditions such as blowing, freezing rain, sub-zero temperatures, or dry heat up to 180°F.
At the Heart of a Smart Zone
Lawrence Tech and the City of Southfield were the two partners that initially secured Oakland County being named one of Michigan’s 11 SmartZones, entities that aim to advance and support the growth and development of high tech businesses and commerce in Michigan.
Something New Under the Sun
Lawrence Tech’s high performance hybrid electric diesel, a heavily modified Ford Taurus, won the National Championship in the 2000 Tour de Sol, a rugged test of highway driving between New York City and Washington, D.C. The student team achieved nearly 80 mpg while still maintaining all the driver and passenger comforts inherent in a five-passenger sedan.
A Leader in Smart Manufacturing
In one of the most prominent and demanding national competitions ever sponsored by General Motors and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, a Lawrence Tech team in 1987 took first prize among 60 top universities in designing a highly advanced Factory of the Future. Their proposed four million square foot plant featured a host of innovations that promoted efficiency, flexibility, and expandability. Manufacturing experts praised the effort, which became a source of continuing study by architects and others. Said one, “These students have proven they know exactly what needs to be done!”
Top Source of Corporate Leadership
Standard & Poors surveys rank Lawrence Tech in the top third of schools nationally that are the undergraduate sources of the country’s leading executives managing companies with sales or revenue of $1 million or more.
From the White House to Your Garage
In international competition involving 40 schools, Lawrence Tech’s 1994 hybrid electric car earned the highest ranking of any Michigan college or university and took third place among all entries. Lawrence Tech’s sporty two-seater allowed the driver to select an internal combustion engine or an electric motor -- or run both simultaneously for extra power and extended mileage. The vehicle was the only university research effort featured at a White House presentation that focused on progress toward highly advanced and innovative vehicles.
The Original Channel Surfers
A year before the country’s first successful public demonstration of television by RCA in 1938, the first TV signals in Michigan were being beamed by the Lawrence Tech Television Society (LTTS) from the basement of the University’s original building in Highland Park. No other independent groups of the era were matching the pioneering advances of the LTTS in the study of TV circuitry or the building of television transmitters and receivers.
Look, Up in the Sky
At the dawn of commercial aviation, few schools could top the achievements of Lawrence Tech’s student aeronautic teams. In competitions involving dozens of college and university glider teams from across the nation, Lawrence Tech won so often that by the late 1930s the national championship trophy was permanently retired and awarded to the University! It remains on display today in Lawrence Tech’s trophy hall.
More Bounce to the Ounce
Some of the nation’s best basketball was played by Lawrence Tech teams of the 1940s and ’50s. In 1951, Lawrence Tech became the smallest college, in terms of enrollment, to ever play in the NIT. Lawrence Tech also represented Michigan in the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB) tournaments in 1942, ’43, ’48, ’49, ’52, and ’54. Lawrence Tech teams regularly sold out such venues as Detroit’s old Olympia Stadium and State Fair Coliseum. Lawrence Tech phased out intercollegiate basketball in 1965 in order to concentrate on academics, but brought it back in 2012. LTU is now a part of the NAIA and fields 23 men's and women's teams across 11 sports: basketball, baseball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, hockey, lacrosse, softball, tennis, volleyball.
Building a Reputation with Architects
Lawrence Technological University enrolls more architectural students than any other school in Michigan. It is among the seven largest programs in the entire nation. Nearly half of Michigan’s licensed architects are Lawrence Tech graduates.
Engineered to be the Best
Lawrence Technological University is among the largest provider of undergraduate engineers graduating from all colleges and universities in the three county Metro Detroit area. Lawrence Tech was the first school in Michigan to require graduating students to take the Professional Engineers Exam.
New Life on the Avenue
Woodward Avenue, perhaps Michigan’s best known highway, was prepping for new life thanks to an exhaustive two year study by Lawrence Tech architecture students completed in 1996. Research and proposals were solicited for the fabled route by the Oakland County Planning Department. Student ideas for a seven community stretch of the road from the Detroit border north to Birmingham aimed at easing congestion, and improving land use, buildings and landscaping. Many of their suggestions were implemented.
Open, Ssese me
More than 300 architecture students and faculty were involved in a multi-billion dollar project to develop a new showcase community for 133,000 residents and a resort on the Ssese Islands of Uganda’s Lake Victoria. The huge undertaking attracted worldwide attention and a consortium of American and Ugandan companies.