By: Kyle Niblett
April 11, 2023
Autodesk, an industry leader in changing how the world is designed and made, signed a $300,000 gift agreement with the University of Florida this past Wednesday on campus. The gift will be evenly split between the University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning and the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.
“We are very pleased to strengthen our long-term partnership with Autodesk,” DCP Dean Chimay Anumba said. “The gift will enable us to enhance our portfolio of courses for DCP graduate and undergraduate students, and to contribute to modernizing the construction project delivery process.”
For the last 15 years, M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management Distinguished Professor Dr. Raymond Issa and DCP faculty have been the catalyst for UF’s relationship with Autodesk, an American multinational corporation that provides software products and services for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, education and entertainment industries. Since then, Issa and other DCP faculty have partnered with the San Francisco-based company to utilize their technology, empowering innovators at UF to solve challenges big and small. Thanks to class lectures from people such as Autodesk AEC Technical Marketing Manager John Herridge, Autodesk has helped DCP shape the world we live in areas such as industrialized construction (IC) and robotics research, just to name a few.
“[Autodesk] wants to partner with institutions that are highly innovative but are also able to offer this unique combination of one of the best engineering colleges in the world along with one of the best programs for construction and planning,” said Steve Blum, a 1987 UF graduate and current Autodesk Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “There’s a huge talent shortage in the marketplace, and we’ve been invested in getting students educated — for free — using world-class software for a long time. We want these schools to enable their students to learn as much as they can so they can leverage that skill in this technological workforce.”
UF students will benefit the most from Autodesk further enhancing their strategic partnership with DCP and Engineering. The $150,000 given to DCP will help the college develop micro-credential and regular courses on IC, eventually leading to a certificate and graduate degree in industrialized construction. The gift from Autodesk will also help fund peer mentors for UF Engineering’s First Year Design and Society course.
“With the help of Autodesk, we fully expect IC to play a crucial role in the future of construction,” Issa said.
After Anumba, Blum and UF Engineering Interim Dean Dr. Forrest Masters led the signing of the memorandum of understanding, Autodesk executives toured DCP’s Smart Industrialized Design & Construction Lab, headed up by Assistant Professor Aladdin Alwisy. With Autodesk having a research center in Boston, Alwisy’s patented robotic system has created much interest as an industry disrupter for robotic construction.
“We know that top-shelf talent is coming out of the University of Florida, especially in these areas that are always thinking about what’s coming next,” said Autodesk Vice President for Industrialized Construction, Strategy and Evangelism Amy Marks.