The Mortenson Center in Global Engineering is housed in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. The Center began as the Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC) program, and was founded by CU Boulder Professor Bernard Amadei (right). Professor Amadei was called to action by a visit to a rural village in Belize, where he saw young children spending their days carrying water to the village, unable to go to school. This experience motivated him to return to the village with engineering students from CU, and build a low-cost water treatment system. When Dr. Amadei returned to CU Boulder, he founded Engineers Without Borders and the EDC program.
In 2009, CU alumnus Mauritz "Mort" Mortenson, his family, and his company, M.A. Mortenson, generously donated to the EDC program, after which the program was renamed in his honor. Since then, the Center has grown and increased its impact. Today, the Center and its affiliates are involved with international research programs like the Sustainable WASH Systems partnership, Bill Gates' Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, and the Drought Resilience Impact Platform. Graduate students participating in their field practicums benefit from partnerships developed in over 80 countries.
In 2018, the Mortenson Center took on its second Director, Dr. Evan Thomas (right). Dr. Thomas's research has been funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation, the World Bank, USAID, the UN Foundation, the CDC, the United Kingdom Department for International Development, the Gates Foundation, and others. He initiated a re-branding of the EDC program as the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering, acknowledging that improving the lives of vulnerable people requires a global partnership. Looking towards the future, the Center is positioned to grow its educational options and support for students, as well as strengthening and adding partnerships with government and non-profit organizations, the private sector, and international development agencies.