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Gift supports The Baum Family Maker Space at USC Viterbi

The space will establish a new hub for undergraduate student innovation on the ground floor of the Science and Engineering Library

Artist rendering of Baum Family Maker Space
Formal design of The Baum Family Maker Space will begin in May. (Rendering/Frederick Fisher and Partners)

A gift from Dwight J. “Jim” Baum, chairman of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Board of Councilors, will establish The Baum Family Maker Space.

The space will be a multipurpose center for designing, innovation and hands-on fabrication by USC Viterbi undergraduates, including spaces dedicated to the design and build work of the school’s student design and competition teams.

Set on the ground floor of the Science and Engineering Library on USC’s University Park Campus, The Baum Family Maker Space will consist of a machine shop, a 3-D shop, a wet lab, a paint booth and a design space. The space will be outfitted with tools such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, routers, lathes, mills, band saws, drill presses, reconfigurable workbenches, hand tools and software for design purposes. Future expansion of the space will include the renovation of the second floor for meeting rooms and lobby areas.

Baum’s generous gift continues his family tradition of philanthropy at USC Viterbi. In 2000, Baum’s father, Dwight C. “Bill” Baum, provided support to USC to build the Baum Family Student Center in USC Viterbi’s Tutor Hall. He also endowed the Dwight C. and Hildagarde E. Baum Chair in Biomedical Engineering at USC Viterbi.

The gift will further solidify the strong legacy of the Baum family at USC Viterbi, one for which we are immensely proud and thankful.

Yannis Yortsos

“We are indebted to Jim Baum for this naming gift. This will allow bringing under one roof a number of different design, innovation, fabrication and competition activities, currently dispersed in different parts of Viterbi facilities,” said USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. “The gift will further solidify the strong legacy of the Baum family at USC Viterbi, one for which we are immensely proud and thankful, for the benefit of countless generations of engineering students.”

Formal design of The Baum Family Maker Space will begin in May, with construction expected to begin later in 2018. The space will augment facilities on campus such as the fab lab.

Baum invests in future engineers

Baum is a private investor and both Baum and his father studied engineering at Cornell University. He is married to Judith Baum; their two children graduated from USC Viterbi. His daughter, Lauren Nollette, earned a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering in 2001 and a Master of Science in medical device and diagnostic engineering in 2005. Baum’s son, Dwight James Baum III, earned a BS in mechanical engineering from USC Viterbi in 1999.

Asked why he gave the naming gift, Baum said, “Engineering schools throughout the country have come to recognize the importance of undergraduate design teams in molding the engineers of the future. USC Viterbi has led the way in totally student-driven projects.

“This repurposing of the library ground floor will give them the world-class tools and space they need to continue to amaze us with their creativity and resourcefulness,” he added. “The enthusiasm of Dean Yortsos for the project is inspiring, and I am just thrilled to be able to help bring this new asset to the campus.”

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Gift supports The Baum Family Maker Space at USC Viterbi

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