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Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science to anchor Henry A. & Elvira H. Jubel Hall

A gift from the Henry A. Jubel Foundation will fund Jubel Hall, the new home of the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, will be located near the intersection of Brookings Drive and Hoyt Drive. As the newest building in the Engineering complex at the northeast corner of campus, it will contain classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices and gathering and study areas.

Elvira and Henry Jubel

When Henry A. Jubel came to the United States from Germany in the 1920s as a young boy, he likely never imagined that he would start what has become a multimillion-dollar international manufacturing company.

The aluminum die-casting company he founded in 1961, Spartan Aluminum Products in Sparta, Ill., has flourished and is now run by his son, Don Jubel, who is honoring his late parents with a gift from the Henry A. Jubel Foundation toward construction of the Henry A. and Elvira H. Jubel Hall for the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis. It’s a fitting tribute to a man who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Washington University in 1940 with the help of a scholarship and wages from cutting grass, translating books from German to English and from his mother, who cleaned homes.

Jubel Hall, the new home of the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, will be located near the intersection of Brookings Drive and Hoyt Drive. As the newest building in the Engineering complex at the northeast corner of campus, it will contain classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices and gathering and study areas. The new space will allow the department to expand its faculty by up to 80 percent and provide the infrastructure to double its already robust research program. In addition, it will help meet the growing demands of a top-tier program in mechanical engineering, the school’s second-largest major.

The gift is part of Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University. A formal groundbreaking for the new building will be announced at a later date.

“Three generations of the Jubel family have now earned or are earning degrees from Washington University, and I’m sure Henry Jubel would be honored by this gift,” says Mark S. Wrighton, chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis. “Jubel Hall will be an excellent example of the foundation’s mission to support young people seeking to improve their lives through higher education.” More than $150 million has already been invested in new and renovated Engineering space over the past 10 years, part of the school’s master plan calling for a 700,000-square-foot engineering complex on the northeast corner of the Danforth Campus.

“The addition of Jubel Hall to Whitaker, Brauer and Green halls in the new engineering complex will enable us to attract and retain the best and brightest students and the most talented faculty, and it will provide them with the tools they need to do great work,” says Ralph S. Quatrano, dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor. “A project such as Jubel Hall can only happen with the support and commitment of many people, and we are truly grateful to the Henry A. Jubel Foundation and the Jubel family for making this a reality.”

After graduating from Washington University, Henry Jubel took a position in 1941 with the Civil Service Ordnance Department, from which he received the highest civilian award and a cash bonus of $1,000 for inventing a modification of a grenade launcher that fit onto the bayonet attachment of the M-1 rifle. After World War II, he went to work for Sterling Aluminum Products as a production engineer. Later, changes at Sterling led Mr. Jubel to purchase Sterling’s aluminum die-cut machines to establish Spartan Aluminum Products. With just two employees, Mr. Jubel did much of the work himself and worked long hours, sleeping in the plant on an Army cot for an entire year.

When he established Spartan, Mr. Jubel aspired to develop an environment where he could help create value for his customers and share success with his associates by treating them fairly and equitably. He believed that machinery and technology weren’t going to build the company, but that employees with innovative ideas and strong work ethics would put Spartan at the forefront of the die-casting industry. Helping customers with their problems was his first dedication, his family says.

“America needs more young people who pursue engineering and other technical disciplines to help us compete globally,” Don Jubel says. “It is my hope that this new building will create enthusiasm and attract bright students who will serve as our leaders of tomorrow.”

During his life, Mr. Jubel won a variety of awards and honors, including an Alumni Achievement Award in 1997 from the School of Engineering & Applied Science. Don Jubel, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Washington University in 1973, is now chief executive of the company, today known as Spartan Light Metal Products, which has 700 employees in operations in Sparta, Ill.; Mexico, Hannibal and St. Louis, Mo.; Detroit; and Tokyo. A major supplier to the automotive industry, the company has annual sales of $200 million.

While a student at Washington University, Don Jubel worked in the Sparta plant every summer to learn all aspects of the business. After graduating from Washington University, he earned an MBA from the University of Missouri-Columbia before joining the family business full time in 1975, commuting the one hour each way daily with his father to Sparta from their south St. Louis County home.

When Spartan became the first company in North America to offer commercial magnesium die-cast products, Don became the initial project engineer for the fast-growing business. The company continued to grow, becoming an industry leader in designing and manufacturing aluminum and magnesium custom diecasting products and assemblies. Don became president in 1991 and chief executive officer in 1999 after Henry’s death. Like his father, he received an Alumni Achievement Award from the School of Engineering & Applied Science in 2008. That same year, he received the school’s John W. Kourik Volunteer of the Year Award. In addition, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010. He is an ex officio trustee as executive vice chair of the Alumni Board of Governors, serves on the school’s National Council, as chair of its Eliot Society and as a member of the Patrons Committee. He also is a member and past president of the school’s Alumni Advisory Council and cochaired the 35th Reunion of the Class of 1973.

The Jubel family has already given much back to Washington University. In 1998, Mr. Jubel established the Spartan Light Metal Products Inc. Scholarship, which endows four scholarships. Don and his wife, Karen, also sponsor two annual scholarships. The family also set up the Henry A. Jubel Foundation in 1998 to support young people seeking to improve their lives through higher education. Don and Karen’s daughter Lindsey earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering in 2009. Another daughter, Melissa, and her husband, Herb Markwort, are both enrolled in the Executive MBA program at Olin Business School. Herb Markwort earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering at WUSTL in 2005. Elvira Recker Jubel died in May 2013 and was a very loyal friend of the university.

Engineer your way. Engineer at WashU.

“America needs more young people who pursue engineering and other technical disciplines to help us compete globally,” Don Jubel says. “It is my hope that this new building will create enthusiasm and attract bright students who will serve as our leaders of tomorrow.”