An engineering building at the University of Houston will be renamed the Durga D. and Sushila Agrawal Engineering Research Building in recognition of a gift that will provide ongoing support for faculty, students, research and building operations.
The $51 million building, which opened in 2017, already had a floor named for the couple. Durga D. Agrawal (M.S. ’69, Ph.D. ’74), founder of Piping Technology & Products Inc., is a member of the UH System Board of Regents and a former member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
After arriving in Houston from India in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Delhi College of Engineering, Agrawal earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the UH Cullen College of Engineering.
“My message to the students is to always be optimistic; one can achieve any goal with hard work, persistence and determination,” Agrawal said. “As alumni, we must keep the torch of knowledge, excellence and innovation growing and glowing.”
Joseph W. Tedesco, Elizabeth D. Rockwell Dean of the Cullen College, said the gift’s impact “will be nothing short of transformational.”
“It will allow us to expand and enhance our laboratory and classroom facilities, recruit some of the world’s greatest engineering minds as students and faculty members, and develop new and innovative academic programs,” he said. “This gift will boost our capacity to conduct research that directly impacts the quality of life across the greater Houston area and beyond.”
The Cullen College has more than 4,200 students, including more than 1,150 graduate students, enrolled in 10 engineering disciplines, as well as several interdisciplinary graduate programs.
The gift contributes to the University’s $1 billion “Here, We Go” Campaign, the first major fundraising campaign in more than 25 years, in support of major University priorities.
Eloise Brice, vice president of University Advancement, said the Agrawal gift will benefit a number of key objectives.
“Recruiting the best and brightest students and faculty is a key goal for the University of Houston, and this generous gift will allow the Cullen College of Engineering to make great strides in that arena,” Brice said. “The ability to improve our research and academic facilities made possible by the Agrawals will ultimately benefit the state of Texas and the nation.”