Villanova University Engineers Secure Major Research Funding from New Millennium, a Steel Dynamics Company

Villanova University Engineers Secure Major Research Funding from New Millennium, a Steel Dynamics Company

VILLANOVA, Pa. (May 30, 2024) – Villanova University professors of Civil and Environmental Engineering David Dinehart, PhD; Shawn P. Gross, PhD; and Joseph Robert Yost, PhD, PE, have been awarded a five-year, $2 million grant from New Millennium, a Steel Dynamics company, for an extensive research program focused on the design and performance of structural steel components used in commercial buildings. Large- and small-scale experimental testing will be conducted in the Richard K. Faris Structural Engineering Teaching and Research Laboratory to validate and optimize the design assumptions used by New Millennium in the development of their open-web steel joists and steel decking products.

"This generous grant from New Millennium is a testament to the exceptional engineering researchers and facilities we have at Villanova," said Michele Marcolongo, PhD, PE, Drosdick Endowed Dean of the College of Engineering. "It will allow our faculty and students to directly apply their technical expertise to drive innovations that have tangible benefits for the broader engineering community."

The goal of this new project is for Villanova researchers to provide engineering design optimizations that ensure the safety, timeliness and cost-effectiveness of steel building systems. The College of Engineering has more than 20 years of partnership with New Millennium, one of the largest providers of cost-efficient, high-performance structural steel joist, joist girder and deck solutions for commercial construction projects. Their research collaboration has yielded numerous advancements that have strengthened the company’s product offerings.

Engaging students at all levels—from undergraduates to PhD candidates—is a core component of Villanova’s partnership with New Millennium. The students will play a central role in designing and executing the experimental tests and will also have opportunities to interface directly with New Millennium's engineers and contribute fresh perspectives to the challenges being studied.

“One of the major benefits of this research project is that the students get to build relationships with the research and engineering teams at New Millennium by leading calls and presenting their lab work,” said Dr. Dinehart. “It’s exciting for them to know that the results of the tests they’re conducting today are being put to use immediately for future product development.”

The project will also be supported by Rebecca Hoffman, PhD, Distinguished Structural and Thermal Analysis Engineer at the University of Dayton.

About Villanova University College of Engineering: Founded in 1905, Villanova University College of Engineering is committed to an educational program that emphasizes technical excellence, innovation, and a liberal arts education within the framework of the University’s Augustinian Catholic tradition. The result is rigorously educated, socially grounded, conscientious thinkers and doers who are professionally prepared to make meaningful change in the world.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit