UNT’s Pettinger Center for Design and Innovation gives students resources to build creatively

UNT’s Pettinger Center for Design and Innovation gives students resources to build creatively

UNT Diving Eagle
February 21, 2023

By Heather Noel

Students in the College of Engineering have a new place to dream up their future innovations.

The Pettinger Center for Design and Innovation at UNT’s Discovery Park is a 7,429-square-foot center where engineering students can learn and have ample space and resources to create their North Texas Design senior projects. The center includes 3D printers, cutting tools and spacious tables with extra utility plugs.

The Spark at Discovery Park, a UNT Libraries makerspace, also is housed in the center. Students can stop by for instructional workshops, use special equipment and check out items such as soldering kits, circuits and more from The Spark’s tool library.

Renovation of the space was made possible by a donation from Wes and Hedwig Pettinger (’79 M.Ed.) — the largest gift ever made to the College of Engineering. Through its resources and programming, the center seeks to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals.

“Hedwig and I are so grateful for all that we have accomplished,” Wes Pettinger says. “Our lives have been filled with so many blessings and we continually strive to be a blessing to others. 

May all the engineering students that gather in this new space be inspired to imagine, design and invent products that will one day help humanity.”

Coming later this spring, the center will be home to The Pettinger Engine Collection — a unique collection of scale model to full size 2 and 4 stroke internal combustion engines, model steam and Stirling Cycle engines used to power model aircraft, cars and boats. Stationary power applications will be included as well. Additionally, the collection will have a group of larger engines such as a 1934 Maytag washing machine powered by a kick start gasoline engine, a 1927 Fairbanks Morse farm engine, several vintage outboard boat engines and a classic 1965 Honda motorcycle. The engines will be used to teach mechanical engineering students and inspire K-12 students through STEM outreach activities.

“We also envision that the engines will attract many other visitors to the College of Engineering, including engine enthusiasts, collectors and hobbyists from around the world,” says Angus McColl, assistant dean for strategic partnerships and executive director of development for the College of Engineering.