ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDBJ) - Boeing has become the first foundational partner for Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus, set for completion in Alexandria, after making a $50 million, multiyear commitment.
Tech says the commitment will help jump-start its effort to create the most diverse graduate technology campus in the country. The investment will provide student scholarships, help recruit world-class faculty and researchers and fund STEM programs for underserved students in K-12.
“We are extremely grateful to Boeing for this extraordinarily generous show of support,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said. “This is a milestone moment in our university’s history, and it will propel our work to help establish the greater Washington, D.C., area as the world’s next major tech hub.”
The investment is the largest gift ever made to the university and builds on a more than 70-year relationship between Tech and Boeing.
“Virginia Tech has a bold and unique vision to unlock the power of diversity to solve the world’s most pressing problems through technology, and we are proud to help make that vision a reality,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun, a Virginia Tech alumnus. “Boeing is dedicated to advancing equity and inclusion, both within our company and in our communities, and we look forward to partnering with Virginia Tech to build a robust and diverse STEM talent pipeline to drive the future of aerospace.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected 531,200 computer science and information technology jobs would be added nationally from 2019 to 2029. Through its Tech Talent Investment Program agreements with 11 universities, Virginia committed to creating 31,000 new computer science/engineering graduates over 20 years. The Innovation Campus in Alexandria is a major component to that commitment.
“We launched this campus with an ambitious vision to diversify the talent in high-tech fields,” said Lance Collins, vice president and executive director of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. “It takes partners like Boeing to help us achieve such big goals. This gift allows us to begin initiatives now that would otherwise take years to start. We are honored to receive this record gift, and we look forward to delivering on what it has empowered us to do.”
Along with the creation of a new campus, Boeing’s investment will help with scholarships, fellowships and academic programs. New financial aid opportunities made possible include:
- Full scholarships to attract, retain and propel a diverse cohort of master’s degree students.
- Additional scholarships for potential future students looking to complete prerequisite courses and qualify for Innovation Campus admission.
- Ph.D. fellowships to attract a highly skilled and diverse cohort of researchers.
New programs and initiatives launched will include:
- A data-driven approach to inclusion- and diversity-focused student recruitment that can serve as best practice for higher education.
- A student success center, providing wraparound academic support.
- A new technology leadership program to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to reshape the culture of the technology center.
- A unique, project-based curriculum that embeds students with industry mentors.
- Collaborative research projects focused on strategic learning domains.
- Programs that provide opportunities for non-traditional undergraduates, including veterans, to eventually enroll and succeed at the Innovation Campus.
The investment will also support outreach initiatives, such as:
- A scalable, K-12 STEM engagement program that will drive the future of diversity in the technology sector.
- Funding for a K-12 program director who will develop, implement and lead a strategy to expand access to technology-related disciplines.
“Alexandria and the entire D.C. region is very diverse,” said Letitia Long, vice-rector of the VT Board of Visitors, an alumna of VT’s College of Engineering and resident of Alexandria. “I hope every talented student who has an interest in computer science or computer engineering sees themselves at this campus one day. Boeing’s generous and strategic gift is a big step in realizing the Innovation Campus’ vision.”
Virginia Tech and Boeing will hold a special event at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. You can watch that live below.
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