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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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February 16, 2007 4:31 PM

New engineering center funded by PACCAR

Posted by Kristi Heim

Paccar makes the hulking Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks used to haul goods along the world's highways. But it wants to be known for more than that.

Today the Bellevue company said it's giving $2 million to Gonzaga University to construct a new engineering center. The funds will go towards building the Paccar Center for Applied Science, a 25,000-square-foot facility that will house robotics and artificial vision labs as well as classrooms and offices.

A lot of big ambitions seem to be riding on the gift.

When it opens in fall 2008, university President Robert Spitzer said the new center would "become the technological heart of our campus." Dennis Horn, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, predicted it would lead to "a significant jump in interest in Gonzaga among engineering students from around the country."

Company CEO Mark Pigott said Paccar is recognized as "one of the leading technology companies in the world. Hmm ... not exactly software or brain research, but these days designing a semi is also a high-tech process.

And it looks like Paccar can afford to be generous. Last quarter its profit was up 22 percent to $380 million on sales of $4.23 billion.

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