Engineering lab renamed to Erich Sarapuu Robotics Lab

Amanda Raschkow
WWU Communications and Marketing intern

The Western robotics lab was renamed to the Erich Sarapuu Robotics Lab in honor of donor Ingrid Sarapuu’s late father April 27.

Ingrid, along with her husband Michael Anderson, donated $150,000 to the Engineering and Design Department’s Equipment endowment fund.

Ingrid and Michael decided to name the lab after Ingrid’s father, who was a mining engineer.

Through the experience of creating the history for the plaque, Ingrid said she learned a lot about her father she didn’t know and probably wouldn’t know if she didn’t make the donation in her father’s name. She joked that now she has 500 pages of documents to go through in the future.

Ingrid and Michael have two children, Erich and Stacy Anderson, who both attended Western.

Erich graduated in 2009 with a degree in accounting.

Stacy graduated in 2013 with a degree in biology. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She credits her move to Wisconsin to one of her biology professors at Western.

Erich and Stacy both had positive experiences at Western, and Ingrid and Michael wanted to thank the school for the good education their children received.

This is not the first donation Ingrid and Michael have made.

In fall 2014, Joan Otto chair of the Biology Department informed the Western Foundation that the department could receive a $50,000 discount on a state-of-the-art Leica DMi600 automated inverted microscope. This microscope is the same type used in biochemical research. In order to receive the discount they needed to raise $20,000 right away.

Western launched its first crowdfunding campaign and contacted graduates of biology and other sciences.

Stacy forwarded the request to her parents, who then made a $10,000 contribution -- half of the amount needed to obtain the microscope with the discount.

Catherine Clark, dean of the College of Sciences and Engineering, and Amber Asbjornsen, the college’s director of development, met with Stacy’s parents to thank them in person and discovered that Ingrid and Michael wanted to make another larger donation for appreciation to Western and acknowledgement of the financial challenges facing Western.

Ingrid and Michael decided to donate the money to the transitioning Engineering Department. They felt it was a valuable opportunity to remember Erich’s and Stacy’s grandfather.

Ingrid said they wanted to help Western students succeed by giving them real machines to gain real-world experience in the fields of engineering and technology.

The Erich Sarapuu Robotics Lab is ET304.

Monday, May 16, 2016 - 10:12am
Ingrid Sarapuu talks with Sura Alqudah, assistant professor of Engineering and Design, and Jeff Newcomer, professor and department chair of Engineering and Design before the opening speech.  Photo by Amanda Raschkow / WWU Communications intern

Ingrid Sarapuu talks with Sura Alqudah, assistant professor of Engineering and Design, and Jeff Newcomer, professor and department chair of Engineering and Design before the opening speech. Photo by Amanda Raschkow / WWU Communications intern

Ingrid Sarapuu gives a speech about her late father and laughs when she tells the crowd a story about her childhood where he father would never help her with her homework but he would help her sister.  Photo by Amanda Raschkow / WWU Communications intern

Ingrid Sarapuu gives a speech about her late father and laughs when she tells the crowd a story about her childhood where he father would never help her with her homework but he would help her sister. Photo by Amanda Raschkow / WWU Communications intern

Stacy Anderson, Wesley Ball and Ingrid Sarapuu raise their glasses for a toast for the late Erich Sarapuu.  Photo by Amanda Raschkow / WWU Communications intern

Stacy Anderson, Wesley Ball and Ingrid Sarapuu raise their glasses for a toast for the late Erich Sarapuu. Photo by Amanda Raschkow / WWU Communications intern

Erich Anderson, Ingrid Sarapuu, Michael Anderson and Stacy Anderson stand in front of the entrance to the Erich Sarapuu Robotics Lab.  Photo by Amanda Raschkow / WWU Communications intern

Erich Anderson, Ingrid Sarapuu, Michael Anderson and Stacy Anderson stand in front of the entrance to the Erich Sarapuu Robotics Lab. Photo by Amanda Raschkow / WWU Communications intern