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General Motors drives efforts to diversify engineering

A $550,000 grant from General Motors will steer diversification and other key areas of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's College of Engineering over the next five years. The gift, which was announced by GM officials during a ceremony on Nov. 14, 2000, will fund activities in four areas of particular interest to GM, including College of Engineering diversity programs, the Engine Research Center, the Powertrain Control Research Laboratory and the Spatial Automation Laboratory.

"This grant will have an undeniably important impact on several crucial areas of education," said College of Engineering Dean Paul S. Peercy "Through their support of diversity programs and three of our outstanding laboratories and research centers, we can build on the already solid opportunities offered in the College of Engineering. We are thrilled to be a partner in GM's commitment to education."

Photo of GM's big check.
GM officials presented the first installment of a $550,000 grant to the College of Engineering. (L-R) Paul Reinke, GM manager of alternative power for advanced engineering; Dan Clements, GM Education Relations; Ed Manuel, UW Foundation; College of Engineering Dean Paul Peercy, and College of Engineering Assistant Dean Deanna Dietrich. Larger Image

General Motors Vice President and General Manager of Operations Guy Briggs explained that GM was pleased to present this grant. "The faculty and students of the University of Wisconsin College of Engineering has really impressed GM's management and engineering community, and we look forward to our continued association and our continued benefits from UW's research for our industry," said Briggs.

Overall, the grant will supply $110,000 per year for five years. Of this amount, 20 percent will be used directly on College of Engineering diversity programs, which support efforts in recruiting and retaining underrepresented minorities and women in engineering.

"General Motors is one of the major, long-time contributors to diversity, so we are quite enthused to continue our relationship with them," said Michael L. Corradini, associate dean for academic affairs. "We hope to use this fund to attract absolutely excellent undergraduate candidates into engineering. The purpose of GM's gift is to provide a diverse student and engineering workforce in the future, an extremely important objective."

In addition to support for diversity affairs, the Engine Research Center will receive $40,667 per year, the Powertrain Control Research Laboratory will receive $18,000 per year and the Spatial Automation Laboratory will receive $29,333 per year. This funding supports two General Motors Graduate Fellowships-one in the Engine Research Center and a second in the Spatial Automation Laboratory. It also provides for two General Motors Undergraduate Fellowships in the Engine Research Center and substantial equipment and facility upgrades in the Engine Research Center and the Powertrain Research Control Laboratory.

"GM's contributions to the college span nearly 20 years and include support for a variety of student automotive projects, diversity scholarships, pre-college programs and a range of GM sponsored automotive research," said Peercy. "We are grateful for their continuing philanthropic efforts and appreciate their interest in furthering engineering education at UW-Madison."

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