Valero contributes $1.5 million for high bay laboratory in Texas A&M’s new Zachry Engineering Education Complex

Rendering  of the future Zachry Engineering Education Complex

Valero Energy Corp., a Fortune 500 company headquartered in San Antonio, has given $1.5 million through the Texas A&M Foundation to support the construction of the Zachry Engineering Education Complex (EEC). To recognize the company for its generosity, the Texas A&M University College of Engineering will name a laboratory within the complex the Valero High Bay Lab. The gift will be counted toward the $4 billion goal of the university’s Lead by Example campaign.

“This gift from Valero will allow us to develop a pivotal component of the Zachry EEC — the High Bay Laboratory space,” said M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M Engineering. “This lab will be truly interdisciplinary, allowing students from multiple engineering fields the opportunity to participate in experiential learning and transformational research.”

The lab will consist of two distinct areas: a four-story high bay area and a one-story low bay area. The high bay area will allow for the installation and development of undergraduate experiments that require a large vertical space. The low bay will house a number of large-footprint experiments such as a double-effect vaporizer and a steam-based heat exchanger system. The space will feature movable work benches and seating, making it easily reconfigured. Departments expected to use the space include aerospace, chemical, mechanical, nuclear and petroleum engineering.

“Valero is proud of the longstanding partnership with the Texas A&M College of Engineering.” said Lane Riggs, executive vice president-refining operations and engineering. “Our investment in the Valero High Bay Laboratory demonstrates our continued commitment to the institution and to current and future students.”

The Zachry Engineering Education Complex, dedicated to undergraduate engineering education, will be completed in the spring of 2018 and will double the size of the original engineering center, with more than 500,000 square feet of space. The complex was designed with the college of engineering’s future growth in mind, specifically the 25 by 25 initiative, which aims to increase the college’s total enrollment to 25,000 students by 2025. Many learning spaces within the building, including the Valero High Bay Lab, will provide unprecedented accessibility to students by creating educational opportunities that can be customized to their schedules.

About the Texas A&M Foundation 

The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities. 

For additional information, please contact Monika Blackwell at or (979) 845-7468.

About the Texas A&M University College of Engineering

With more than 500 tenured/tenure-track and academic professional track faculty and 17,000 students, the college of engineering is one of the largest engineering schools in the country. The college is ranked seventh in graduate studies, eighth in undergraduate programs, and second in research expenditures among public institutions by U.S. News & World Report

About the 25 by 25 Initiative

The 25 by 25 initiative is a transformational engineering education program designed to address the national and state need for more engineers and to better prepare these students for the changing needs of the engineering workforce. The college of engineering is answering this call by providing an opportunity for more qualified students to pursue an engineering education at Texas A&M by increasing its total enrollment to 25,000 engineering students by 2025.