Kat Heiden

Mines to build new hub for innovation and entrepreneurship

Labriola Innovation Complex will include maker spaces, project team spaces, creativity and collaboration spaces, and design project classrooms
Rendering of Labriola Innovation Complex

Thanks to the generous lead gift from Frank ’52 and Mary Labriola of Phoenix, Arizona, Colorado School of Mines is developing the Labriola Innovation Complex, a new state-of-the-art multi-facility complex that will be the central hub for innovation on campus.

The Labriola Innovation Complex will include maker spaces, project team spaces, creativity and collaboration spaces, and design project classrooms—everything needed to imagine, design, prototype, and test new inventions, products and code.

Mines’ strong commitment to hands-on learning, interdisciplinary teamwork and rapid innovation will take center stage at this multi-use space. From first-year students learning and practicing an engineering design approach for the first time to senior capstone students refining final products for potential commercialization, the Labriola Innovation Complex will provide the space and resources necessary for students to use their problem-solving skills and realize their ideas. It will also be the home for project-based competition teams (i.e., SAE Formula One car, ASCE concrete canoe, SpaceX HyperLoop sled, etc.) and maker- and hacker-oriented clubs.

“The Labriola Innovation Complex is going to further cement Mines position among the world’s top STEM-focused universities by expanding the hands-on and learning-by-doing opportunities that are key to our students’ growth as engineers and scientists, and eventually industry leaders,” said Paul C. Johnson, president of Colorado School of Mines. “Frank and Mary care deeply about entrepreneurial spirit and drive and its importance to the prosperity of our nation and the world. We are extremely grateful for the Labriolas’ gift as it allows a key component of our vision for Mines’ future to be realized in time for our 150th anniversary in 2024. Ultimately, we envision our graduates following in Frank’s footsteps as entrepreneurs and industry leaders.  I can’t wait to see the amazing projects that result from launching the Labriola Innovation Complex at Colorado School of Mines.”

About the Donors

Frank Labriola graduated from Mines in 1952 with a Professional Degree in Metallurgical Engineering.  He went on to earn his MBA from Northwestern University. At Northwestern, he met his future wife, Mary, who was attending nursing school. 

After serving in the United States Navy for four years, Frank worked for Reynolds Metal Company in Phoenix, Arizona for 15 years, honing his technical, leadership and project management skills. Then, driven by hard work and aspirations to build his own business, Frank founded Pimalco, a company that manufactured lightweight hard-alloy aluminum for the aerospace industry. He served as its President and CEO from 1972 to 1994. Upon his retirement, Frank sold Pimalco, which became a division of Alcoa.

Frank’s driving philosophy is that industry leaders must first and foremost take care of their people and equipment while maintaining high expectations of themselves and their employees. He and Mary also recognize the societal importance of competition, incentive and innovation. Their generous investments in Mines will provide students with the necessary tools to become the best competitors in an ever-evolving worldwide marketplace.

About Colorado School of Mines

Colorado School of Mines is a public university focused on science and engineering, dedicated to educating and inspiring students, advancing knowledge and innovating to address the great challenges society faces today—particularly those related to earth, energy and the environment.

Founded in 1874 with specialties in mining and metallurgy, Mines’ scope and mission have evolved to meet the needs of industry and society, producing distinctive graduates and revolutionary innovations, with impact to the energy, aerospace, civil infrastructure, defense, IT, health and earth resource industries.

Kat Heiden

Kat Heiden

Advancement Communications Writer, Colorado School of Mines Foundation
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.