December 3, 2021

Purdue's Electrical Engineering Building gets new name after generous gift to school

A Purdue building housing the university's largest academic unit has a new name, thanks to a generous gift from an alumnus. Purdue’s Board of Trustees approved the naming of the Electrical Engineering Building on campus as the Max W & Maileen Brown Family Hall.
Max W. and Maileen Brown
Max W. (BSEE '70) and Maileen Brown

The naming is in recognition of a generous gift to Purdue’s Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The gift is from Max W and Maileen Brown, and their children Max G, and Ash. Max W Brown is a 1970 Purdue graduate in electrical engineering. Max G and Ash also received degrees from Purdue.

It’s the second time in the last couple of years that Brown has provided significant funding for the school. In 2019, Max W and Maileen also provided a major gift that allowed for the renovation of the atrium in the Materials Science and Electrical Engineering Building. The now-named Max W Brown Atrium is a welcoming and inspiring location for students, with furniture designed to ensure that students feel comfortable as they work on assignments and collaborate on team projects. Brown hopes these gifts encourage other alumni to give.

“My EE degree was instrumental in why we are able to make this gift to modernize the historic EE building,” Brown said. “We are looking forward to seeing the improvements to the facility for the benefit of all Purdue students.”

Brown is the former owner of CET Limited, a manufacturer’s representative company centered around microprocessors and high-tech electronics representing companies in Hong Kong and Asia Pacific. He started his career as a single-chip designer for Texas Instruments before pivoting to marketing in the industry. He created some of the earliest metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) single-chip integrated circuits, including an eight-bit microprocessor, digital clock and floating point calculator circuits.

"Max Brown and his family have deep and strong connections to Purdue and ECE," said Dimitrios Peroulis, the Michael and Katherine Birck Head of ECE. "We are very thankful for their incredible leadership and generosity. I am confident that the impact of this gift will be felt by many generations of students."

Purdue’s School of Electrical Engineering was established in 1888. The program moved into the Electrical Engineering Building in 1924, the university’s 50th anniversary year. The EE building received additions in 1932 and 1940, thanks to the generosity of Thomas Duncan, owner of nearby Duncan Electric Co. The building houses classrooms, lecture halls and lab facilities, as well as one of the largest lecture halls on campus that is used by more than just electrical engineering classes.

The Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering has more than 110 faculty members (six National Academy of Engineering members and more than 40 Fellows in multiple societies), 1,700 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students. Purdue ECE has $44.5 million externally-raised research funding. The School is home to the National Science Foundation Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NSF NCN, nanoHUB), the SRC/DARPA Center for Brain Inspired Computing Enabling (C-BRIC), and big SRC center-level efforts in new-era electronics. ECE faculty lead the Birck Nanotechnology Center and various research areas under two NSF Engineering Research Centers (ERCs). ECE’s undergraduate, graduate and online programs rank 10th, 11th, and first in the nation, respectively.