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Published: Apr 24, 2012 1:00:00 PM
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From left: Sally and Dwight Wiggins, Auburn Trustee Jimmy Sanford and President Jay Gogue
Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering has dedicated the Dwight L. Wiggins Mechanical Engineering Hall. The building is the new home to the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the college’s largest academic unit, and is named for Dwight L. Wiggins Sr., a local merchant remembered for his love of family, sense of honesty, and service to the First Baptist Church in Frisco City.
A lifelong Monroe County resident, he died in 1994 at the age of 87, and is buried in Union Cemetery in Frisco City. His legacy spurred his son, Dwight L. Wiggins Jr., a 1962 and 1967 mechanical engineering graduate, to make a generous gift to the construction of the building. A ceremony to honor them both was held in the Shelby Center's Lowe Grand Foyer on Saturday, April 14.
The facility provides a central location for administration and faculty offices, as well as state-of-the-art laboratories designed to enhance instruction and advance emerging research initiatives. The building features designated student study areas and much-needed space for student design projects and competition teams.
“Dwight reminded me that he did his graduate research in the attic of Ross Hall because there was no other space available,” said Larry Benefield, dean of engineering. “With the dedication of Wiggins Hall, we now have state-of-the-art instructional and research facilities that Dwight never dreamed possible at Auburn. His generosity will provide future generations of mechanical engineering students the best facilities available.”
“When Dean Benefield outlined his vision for new engineering facilities, I knew it was something that we needed to make happen,” said Wiggins. “I am honored to play a part in seeing this dream become a reality. These facilities are critical to making Auburn Engineering one of the top programs in the nation.”
The event also included the unveiling of the historic grandfather clock that will reside in the administrative office of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The clock was installed in Ramsay Hall in 1925 and was responsible for ringing all of the bells on campus. For nearly 37 years, mechanical engineering professor John C. McKinnon kept the clock accurate to within seconds, a feat that only he could accomplish due to the clock’s intricacy and temperamental nature. His scrupulous attention to the clock received national recognition.
The clock has been refurbished through a gift from McKinnon’s daughter Marjorie McKinnon Hale ’43, and grandchildren Anne Hale Craft ’70, Mary Curtis Hale Schroth ’75 and Ben Hale ’76. In recognition of their gift, a faculty office in Wiggins Mechanical Engineering Hall has been named in McKinnon’s honor.