Strengthening the Foundation: Tishman Construction Management Program
Launching the first Construction Management graduate program in the world in 1954, the University of Michigan CEE department has established itself as a key player in construction research and education. That leadership position was further enhanced, thanks to a significant gift in 2011 from Mr. John L. Tishman (BSE EE ’46, D. Eng Hon. ’00).
The Tishman endowment supports a world-class, innovative educational and research program, named the Tishman Construction Management Program. Tishman is widely credited with creating the profession of Construction Management. The gift and enhancement of the construction program at the U-M occurred at a critical time. The construction industry’s demand for highly skilled, broadly trained professionals has been consistently high in recent years. That demand will only climb in the coming years, with the rapidly growing need for infrastructure development and renewal, both in the United States and abroad. The Tishman Construction Management Program (TCMP) is well-positioned to meet the challenge. The gift has given U-M the opportunity to capitalize on its strong background and strengths in Construction Management at an opportune time when the demand for the best and most qualified professionals continues to rise.
The TCMP includes several components, including new courses and opportunities for students that reflect the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of Construction Management and that reflect where the field is headed both in research and professional practice. The program follows a model created by Tishman himself, which not only emphasized innovation but also the recognition of Construction Management as a distinct profession requiring breadth and depth of knowledge across multiple disciplines. The skills and knowledge required by qualified construction managers today—and even more so of the future—are by definition cross-disciplinary. The U-M has expertise in many of these areas, including highly-ranked architecture and business schools, and strengths in the sciences and in other fields of engineering as well. This distinguishes U-M from other university Construction Management programs, and the Tishman endowment makes it possible to leverage all of this expertise.
Active engagement with industry is a cornerstone of the new TCMP. Through the U-M Construction Industry Alliance Program (UMCIAP), graduate students have many opportunities to interact with industry and gain hands-on practice experience via projects and internships. Industry partners, likewise, benefit from working closely with—and potentially recruiting—highly-motivated students, guest-lecturing, providing input on the curriculum and helping refine research directions in order to solve specific, practice-oriented problems. The industry alliance offers a forum and a platform for open discourse among industry, students, and faculty, emphasizing the many integral connections among research, education and professional practice.
The Tishman endowment enables a variety of related activities in addition to supporting both master’s and doctoral level students. Mr. Tishman was passionate about Construction Management and believed that U-M already has a strong foundation from which to serve as the place to train the leaders and best in the construction industry. The Tishman endowment has truly been a unique opportunity for the Department.
In Memoriam: John L. Tishman
During his time at the helm of Tishman Construction, Tishman erected the world’s first three buildings 100 stories and above: the John Hancock Center in Chicago and the World Trade Center’s twin towers. He went on to build Madison Square Garden, the Detroit Renaissance Center, Disney’s $1-billion EPCOT Center, and many others. He also revolutionized the entire industry by developing Construction Management, the inventive process in which one company carries out the tasks of project planning, design, and construction in an integrated manner.
Tishman was a cutting-edge engineer. In 1998 the College awarded Tishman the Alumni Society Medal, the most prestigious award the College can bestow on an alumnus. In 2000 he received an honorary degree from U-M to recognize his transformative contributions to Construction Management as well as his civil and philanthropic activities.
Mr. John L. Tishman passed away at the age of 90 on February 6, 2016. May his memory be eternal.