Thursday, July 18, 2024

Pipes Foundation Donates $250,000 to Future Louisiana Tech Forest Products Innovation Center

by BIZ Magazine

Ruston, LA – The Pipes Foundation has made a generous $250,000 donation to Louisiana Tech University’s College of Applied and Natural Sciences (ANS) for the development of the Forest Products Innovation Center (FPIC). This state-of-the-art facility will be a hub for forestry education, research, and innovation, benefiting the timber and forest products industries across Louisiana and the south-central United States.

The Pipes Foundation, established in 1977 by Mr. and Mrs. Tolbert C. Pipes to support Louisiana Tech University, joins other significant contributors to the FPIC, including RoyOMartin, Weyerhaeuser, and Hunt Forest Products. The construction of the center is set to begin in early 2025 on Tech’s South Campus.

“This Center is poised to be transformational for our University but also for the timber and forest products industries at large,” said Louisiana Tech President Jim Henderson. “The Pipes Foundation’s longtime commitment to Louisiana Tech is appreciated, and this investment in our cherished South Campus is especially meaningful.”

The donation from the Pipes Foundation, along with proceeds from the sale of timber from land donated by the Foundation, has historically provided matching funds for external grant proposals. This capability has significantly boosted the College’s competitiveness in securing external funding, benefiting every academic unit within ANS.

“The Pipes Foundation’s quarter-million-dollar donation will move us much closer to our $5 million goal to match the State of Louisiana’s $10 million pledge for the Forest Products Innovation Center,” said ANS Dean Dr. Gary Kennedy. “The Center will enhance the economic impact of the forestry industry by creating innovative and sustainable applications for wood-related products. We are very grateful to the Pipes Foundation, Inc. for their continued support.”

The FPIC will feature the Pipes Foundation Patio, an outdoor learning space designed for students from various disciplines to gather and foster a culture of discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurship. This naming opportunity reflects Mr. Tolbert Pipes’ passion for the outdoors, as he was a successful land developer who grew pine timber and processed it in his sawmill.

“The Board of Directors believes that Mr. and Mrs. Pipes would be very pleased to see their names on the porch area of the building,” said Benny Denny, retired president and CEO of Century Next Bank and current president of the Pipes Foundation board.

Tolbert Pipes, a Louisiana Tech Class of 1933 graduate in mechanical and electrical engineering and a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean War, established the Pipes Foundation to support his alma mater. He and his wife, Mable Carter Pipes, donated 270 acres to the College of Life Sciences (now ANS), which has served as an outdoor laboratory for 40 years. They also funded the College of Engineering Tolbert C. Pipes Eminent Scholar Chair in 1989.

The FPIC will provide space for research on various aspects of wood products, including sustainable use, enhanced carbon accounting, material strengthening and preservation, and resource efficiency. The Center will also facilitate collaborations within the forestry industry and with other state and national industry partners, hosting a resident U.S. Forest Service researcher. Academic programs in forestry, agriculture, biology, engineering, science, and other disciplines will contribute to the Center’s research, learning, and service missions.

For more information about the Forest Products Innovation Center at Louisiana Tech University, visit Louisiana Tech University.

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