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Creating the Mason Legacy

William R. (Rick)Toole (CE ’79, MSCE ’80) is committed to bringing the Mason Building back to its glory days. He believes the next generation of CEE grads deserves no less.

“I spent a good deal of my time at Tech in the Mason Building and I have a lot of fond memories of it,” says the President of the Augusta-based W. R. Toole Engineers, Inc. “It’s where I met professors and other students. It’s where I was shaped, really, as an engineer.”

When Toole toured the building three decades after he graduated, he doubted today's students would have the same experience. It disturbed him.

“I felt like I had stepped back into the 70s and that’s just not good enough,” he said. “We’re at a point in civil engineering, now, where it’s very competitive. The technologies and information that shape the field are rapidly changing. We can’t give our students a world-class education in a building that saw its peak in the late 70s.”

When the Mason Building was first built, he said, most students were hard-pressed to get a hand-held calculator, let alone a computer. That meant a lot of time was spent alone, doing calculations by hand and poring over technical journals in the library. Equipped with laptops, today’s students are expected to master a greater amount of material and use it to complete large-scale collaborative projects.

“The Mason Building wasn’t built for that,” he says. “It’s got chalk boards when what they need are white boards. It has classrooms, but no place for them to review big projects. Educating students in that building is like trying to get a drink of water from a fire hose.  The building just can’t stand up to the challenge.”

William R. (Rick) Toole, CE '79
MSCE '80
EAB Member
President, W. R. Toole Engineers, Inc.