Spartan Makerspace will foster innovation and entrepreneurship

“I believe making things with your hands is essential to being a truly well-rounded engineer,” says Washington University Trustee Donald Jubel, BS ’73, chief executive officer of Spartan Light Metal Products. “You can learn the nuances of using different materials. You also learn to have respect for the people who actually make products. I have designed things that have turned out to be almost impossible to make. Learning from your mistakes is a great teacher.”

“It (Spartan Light Metal Products Makerspace) is designed to pique interest,” Donald Jubel says. “Who knows, it may lead some students to change their major to engineering!”

To give Washington University students enhanced opportunities to learn by working with their hands, Spartan has pledged $1 million to create the Spartan Light Metal Products Maker Space. The cutting-edge facility will be centrally located on the ground floor of Henry A. and Elvira H. Jubel Hall, which was named in 2013 with a substantial commitment from the Jubel family through the Henry A. Jubel Foundation. Jubel Hall, part of the university’s east end transformation project, will be completed in 2019 and will house the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science in the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

The Spartan Makerspace will transform the way students and faculty members interact with their subject matter in many areas of study. Its state-of-the-art resources will include 3D printers and scanners, plasma cutters, computer-controlled milling machines, and lathes for cutting metal. Such tools can be used to create everything from tech products and biomedical devices to sculptures and architectural mock-ups.

“The makerspace will accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship across Washington University,” says Philip Bayly, chair of mechanical engineering and the Lilyan and E. Lisle Hughes Professor. “It will provide a place where innovators can bring to life designs for addressing society’s challenges.

“For entrepreneurs, working prototypes are a huge help in demonstrating an idea in order to obtain patent protection, convince investors, and attract customers,” he adds. “The Spartan Makerspace will provide students and faculty with sophisticated fabrication capabilities that will allow them to have an even greater impact on our world.”

In 1961, Donald Jubel’s father, Henry Jubel, BS ’40, founded Spartan Light Metal Products, which has become an industry leader in the design and manufacture of aluminum and magnesium custom diecasting products and assemblies. He attributed his success to his Washington University education. Beginning with Henry, three generations of the Jubel family have earned degrees in mechanical engineering at the university, including Donald and his daughter Lindsey, BS ’09, MS ’09.

For decades, the Jubel family has provided extraordinary support and leadership for Washington University. The family and its foundation have directed significant gifts and annual support to scholarships and programs in the engineering school and to the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center. Among his many roles, Donald is a member of the engineering school’s national council and the university’s Alumni Board of Governors. His daughter Melissa Markwort, EMBA ’14, is a member of the LEAD Initiative committee for the engineering school and the Family Business Steering Committee for Olin Business School. She also serves as chair of the Fellows Committee for the William Greenleaf Eliot Society.

“The Jubels have championed both education and manufacturing in our region and beyond,” Professor Bayly says. “It means a great deal to the university for the maker space to bear the Spartan name.”