Nearly 40 years ago, Lawrence Tech’s third president, Wayne H. Buell, described Lawrence Tech as “a private university serving public purposes.” Lawrence Tech has a strong tradition of service to the professions, the region, and to diverse populations. The University’s presence is marked not only by contributions to a highly-skilled workforce, but also by its impact on neighborhoods, young people, cultural centers, teachers, and businesses. For more than 70 years, Lawrence Tech has offered high quality, accessible opportunities for social and economic mobility.
The College of Architecture and Design's Detroit Studio, located in the New Center area, serves the community and provides architecture students with opportunities in community-based architectural, urban design and community development projects.
One recent project of the Detroit Studio is the Southfield City Center Study Project, a community-based design study produced by Lawrence Tech senior and graduate students. This project was funded by the Southfield City Centre Advisory Board, an entity established to improve the quality of life of the Southfield city center area. Working with the city, Lawrence Tech students also developed a master plan for improving the Southfield city center area as "a catalyst for downtown revitalization"
The University's architecture students and faculty have played leadership roles in what have evolved as the region's most important development and design projects, including the revitalization of Detroit's theater district – the Fox, State, and Gem Theaters – which had its roots in a Lawrence Tech student project.
Other cities that have benefited from Lawrence Tech projects include Troy, Lewiston, Southfield, Pontiac, Milford, Farmington, Rochester, Idlewild, Windsor, and Detroit, in the Woodward Ave. and Grand River Ave. corridors.
Lawrence Tech received a $100,000 grant from the nonprofit NextEnergy corporation to develop an alternative energy technology curriculum. In association with Focus: HOPE and Lansing Community College, Lawrence Tech will develop associate degree and certificate programs in alternative energy, with a bachelor's degree program and continuing education programs to follow.
Studying alternative forms of energy is anything but new at Lawrence Tech. Hybrid electric cars developed by the University’s engineering students have received national attention for more than a decade, and architecture students recently won Michigan’s Zero Energy Home competition. Prior to the NextEnergy education grant awards, Lawrence Tech announced a new alternative energy course for this fall – one of the first such courses in the state.
“We are very excited to have a role creating the first wave of alternative energy programs for Michigan,” said Charles M. Chambers, Lawrence Tech president. “From power electronics and electrochemistry to fuel cell science and solar systems, faculty and students will explore the very latest alternatives to today’s costly pollution-producing fuels.”
According to NextEnergy Chief Operating Officer Steven D. Arwood, “The creation of a curriculum for technicians and engineers is a significant part of the infrastructure that will position the State of Michigan to take the leadership role in producing a workforce to continue AET research and development. The awards are expected to result in a seamless, statewide curriculum in alternative energy between two year and four year schools."
Lawrence Tech is a partner in the Oakland Automation Alley SmartZone, one of 11 Michigan SmartZones created by the state's Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The Oakland Automation Alley SmartZone is a partnership of Lawrence Technological University and Oakland University, the Cities of Southfield, Troy, and Rochester Hills, as well as Oakland County and Automation Alley.
Lawrence Tech supports SmartZone activities by providing access to training, research, and conference, information technology, and recreation facilities to SmartZone tenants. The University provides opportunities for applied research and technology transfer using faculty and students. Customized cooperative education programs link Lawrence Tech students with SmartZone tenants for their mutual benefit as well as strengthening workforce capacity in the region.