LOWELL -- UMass Lowell leaders, students, faculty and staff gathered last week to dedicate one of the university's academic buildings in honor of alumnus James Dandeneau of Dayville, Conn.
More than 75 people gathered on UMass Lowell's North Campus Quad for the event, which paid tribute to Dandeneau for his longtime support of the school and for his accomplishments.
A 1980 graduate of UMass Lowell's renowned plastics engineering program, he is the founder, president and CEO of medical-device company Putnam Plastics, which makes catheter assemblies among other products, and owner of Connecticut National Golf Course.
Through his generosity, the building now known as Dandeneau Hall is undergoing renovations and will soon be a vibrant new home to robotics and computer labs for UMass Lowell students, along with space for engineering and computer science faculty.
Dandeneau and his family -- wife Deb, daughter Lauren and son Ryan, a 2010 UMass Lowell graduate -- have long championed an array of UMass Lowell initiatives, from funding student scholarships and research professorships to state-of-the-art equipment for the university's engineering labs.
In recognition of his achievements, James Dandeneau was presented with an honorary degree at UMass Lowell Commencement exercises on Saturday.
"Through his work in the medical-device field and his philanthropy, Jim Dandeneau has made a lasting difference in thousands and thousands of lives," UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney said. "Dandeneau Hall will be a testament to his legacy, a center of activity where UMass Lowell will educate new generations of scientists, researchers and engineers to advance frontiers in these fields and more."
The fully renovated Dandeneau Hall, located along the quad's east side, will become an integral part of UMass Lowell's North Campus Innovation District, dedicated to scientific research and development and business education in support of the region's economy.
As part of the ceremony, university leaders unveiled signs on the building with the new name and a watercolor rendering of Dandeneau Hall by artist Mark Waitkus was presented to the family as a keepsake.
"I'm very happy to support the renovation of this classic building. It is special to me because I took several courses here when I was a student and it is a part of the school's history," James Dandeneau said. "The state-of-art labs and research facilities being added will give UMass Lowell students hands-on experience with equipment they will likely encounter in the workplace."