Higgins Engineering and Science Center to Enhance Technology Footprint on South Campus

The newest campus addition is the cornerstone of Manhattan College’s modernization of facilities, supporting its engineering and science programs.

Architectural rendering of the new Higgins Engineering and Science CenterManhattan College continues to move forward.

Thanks to a leadership gift of $5 million from Patricia G. Higgins, Ph.D., and Cornelius J. (Neil) Higgins ’62, Ph.D., Manhattan is set to break ground on a 30,000-square foot academic facility on its South Campus, adjacent to Leo Hall.

Slated for completion in fall 2020, the Patricia and Cornelius Higgins ’62 Engineering and Science Center is the cornerstone of Manhattan College’s modernization of facilities that support its engineering and science programs.

“Manhattan College had the greatest influence on what I had to do after graduation, provided me with an excellent basis, both moral and academic, to continue in graduate education and in an engineering career. It’s really where my heart is,” Neil Higgins said.

“We felt we needed to do this,” said Patricia Higgins. “We’re both first generation college students. Contributing to Manhattan, with its support of first generation students, is very important for us.”

"A Comprehensive Program of Renewal"

The Higgins Center will provide the necessary resources for a 21st-century education in engineering and the sciences. A grand atrium will welcome students and faculty to the three-story structure. Fourteen ultramodern laboratories will support and expand teaching and research in each of the College’s engineering and science disciplines. There also will be space for collaborative learning and interdisciplinary partnerships among students and faculty.

“The Higgins Engineering and Science Center is a magnificent, state-of-the-art addition to our facilities,” said Brennan O’Donnell, president of Manhattan College. “This is the first step in a comprehensive program of renewal of our labs and classrooms on South Campus."

Strategically located across from the Research and Learning Center, the new facility will be connected to a refurbished Leo Hall. Together, the structures will feature 140,000 square feet of academic space for engineering and the sciences. They also will anchor Manhattan College’s new South Campus.

Neil and Patricia HigginsCornelius J. Higgins ’62, Ph.D., is a founder and chairman emeritus of Applied Research Associates Inc., a national engineering and science firm headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He held the position of principal and chief executive officer from 1979 until his retirement in 2010.

After graduating from Manhattan College, Higgins served as a civil engineering officer in the U.S. Air Force in Albuquerque, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Upon completing his service in the Air Force, he joined the defense analysis industry as assistant division manager for Mechanics Research Inc., and later as vice president of Civil/Nuclear Systems Corp. In 1975, Higgins joined the University of New Mexico as chief of the geotechnical analysis division of the civil engineering research facility, where he directed and performed studies on explosive ground shock and cratering, soil dynamics, wave propagation, soil-structure interaction and earthquake engineering. His technical areas of specialization include applied mechanics, dynamics, experimental simulation, systems engineering, and probabilistic analysis.

A registered professional engineer and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Higgins received a B.S. in civil engineering from Manhattan College in 1962, an M.S. in astronautics from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1964, a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of New Mexico in 1978, and an executive MBA from the University of New Mexico in 1987. He also received an M.A. in liberal arts from St. John’s College in 2007. He was elected to the Manhattan College Board of Trustees in October 2003.

Patricia G. Higgins, Ph.D., served on the faculty of the College of Nursing of the University of New Mexico from 1980 to her retirement in 2000, rising from visiting instructor to full professor. Her specialty was Maternal-Child Nursing. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Higgins taught health occupations at Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and nursing refresher courses at Albuquerque Technical-Vocational Institute. In her earlier career, and while teaching, she raised three children.

A registered nurse and a member of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nursing, Higgins received a diploma in nursing from the Bellevue and Mills School of Nursing in 1963. After raising her family, she entered the University of New Mexico to receive a B.S. in health education in 1975 and a B.S. in nursing in 1978. She then received an M.S. in nursing from the University of Arizona and returned to the University of New Mexico for a Ph.D. in Health Education in 1984. The couple resides in Bonita Springs, Florida.