James Dandeneau ’80 Funds New Robotics, Computer Labs for Students

Dandeneau Hall dedication
UMass Lowell dedicated one of its North Campus academic buildings in honor of alumnus James Dandendeau ’80, shown, at an outdoor ceremony held on Friday, May 18.


Contact: Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu and Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or Christine_Gillette@uml.edu

LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell leaders, students, faculty and staff today dedicated one of the university’s academic buildings in honor of alumnus James Dandeneau ’80, in recognition of his longstanding support of his alma mater. 

More than 75 people gathered on UMass Lowell’s North Campus Quad for the event, which paid tribute to Dandeneau of Dayville, Conn., and 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 will also be presented with an honorary degree at UMass Lowell Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 19. 

“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.  

One student already making her mark in the local workforce is UMass Lowell senior Jennifer Barrington, a plastics engineering major from Chelmsford and Dandeneau Family Scholarship recipient who shared her gratitude at the event. Barrington, who will receive her diploma tomorrow, is a research and development contractor with medical-device maker Getinge in Merrimack, N.H.

“Support from the Dandeneau Scholarship made a meaningful difference in my education. I’m proud to say that I am going to graduate debt-free, with a job doing something that I really enjoy,” she said. 

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.” 

Working with a team of more than 280 Putnam Plastics employees, Dandeneau has fostered a stream of major technological advances and produced an outstanding variety of high-end devices that improve the quality of health care. In 1999, he became one of the first UMass Lowell alumni to create an endowed scholarship at the institution when he funded a major scholarship to benefit engineering students. He has also given his time to UMass Lowell, serving as a member of the university’s Plastics Engineering Advisory Board and steering committee for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Plastics Engineering Department. He received UMass Lowell’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005 and is a 2001 inductee of the Francis Academy of Distinguished Engineers, the hall of fame for graduates of UMass Lowell’s Francis College of Engineering. 

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 18,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu