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Mark Saab ’81 Donates $750,000 to ETIC Fund

Plastics Engineering Graduate Gives Back to University

Elisia and Mark Saab,center, present their $1 million donation to Chancellor Martin T. Meehan and Chair of Plastics Engineering Prof. Bob Malloy at the Plastics Donor Recognition Lunch in 2008.

By Lisa Marie Sinatra

The June 8 groundbreaking ceremony for the new Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center (ETIC) marks the latest step in Chancellor Martin T. Meehan’s vision for continued large-scale growth on campus. For Mark Saab ’81, the University’s level of commitment to excellence prompted him and his wife, Elisia, who co-own Advanced Polymers Inc. in Salem, N.H., to donate $750,000 to the ETIC building fund.

The Saabs are longtime supporters of the University, having previously funded laboratory renovations, new equipment and materials for the Plastics Engineering Department, and scholarships, including the Mark and Elisia Saab Family Scholarship and also the Saab Family Endowed Scholarship, which supports plastics engineering majors. In 2008, with a $500,000 gift that was matched by the Nantucket Preserve Matching program, the Saabs established a $1 million professorship awarded to faculty who are teaching and researching green plastics.

“The generous support we have received from Mark and Elisia Saab over the years has had a dramatically positive impact on our program and our students in so many ways ranging from lab renovations to scholarships.  Their latest gift will now allow us to build a high bay manufacturing facility that has been a dream of ours for many years,” says Prof. Robert Malloy, chair of the Department of Plastics Engineering.

“I have always felt strongly about giving back to UMass Lowell, which gave me so much support,” says Saab. “I’m grateful for the education that has led to my success, and I want to help today’s students discover the path to their own future.”

With 25 years of experience in the plastics industry ― including 20 years in the medical device field, during which he secured more than 30 patents ― Saab received UMass Lowell’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007.

“A successful alumnus, Mark is a leader in his field as well as a leader in giving back to the University,” says Meehan. “We appreciate his support of the research (work) we are doing here, and his commitment to making a difference in the lives of students at the University.”

The $70 million, 84,000-square-foot ETIC will be home to experts in cutting-edge fields including nanotechnology, plastics engineering, biomedicine and electro-optics. Recognized as an international leader in advanced manufacturing, UMass Lowell is expected to draw researchers from around the world to collaborate with faculty and students at the Center, as well as work hand-in-hand with industry. The center is expected to be completed in 2012.

“Any time anyone supports the University through private donations, it’s a validation of the good work that the institution is doing,” says Vice Chancellor for Advancement Edward Chiu. “The Saabs believe in the University’s mission and in the future of its students. We are truly thankful for their support.”

The Saabs currently live in Lowell. Advanced Polymers Inc. provides innovative, high-quality products and components utilized in the manufacturing of minimally invasive medical devices, procedures and leading-edge medical technology.

Elisia Saab, right, announces the Saab’s donation at the groundbreaking of the Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center in June.