$50 million, multiyear commitment from Boeing will help jump-start Virginia Tech’s effort to create the most diverse graduate technology campus in the United States, the university announced Tuesday morning.
Boeing’s commitment will provide student scholarships, foster the recruitment of world-class faculty and researchers, and fund STEM pathway programs for underserved K-12 students looking to pursue a college degree and enter high-tech career sectors, according to a university news release.
“We are extremely grateful to Boeing for this extraordinarily generous show of support,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said in the release. “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.”
Boeing’s investment in the Innovation Campus, which equals the largest gift ever made to the university, builds on a relationship between Boeing and Virginia Tech that spans more than 70 years.
“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,” Boeing CEO David Calhoun, a Virginia Tech alumnus, said in the release. “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.”
Warner said Boeing’s support is great news, not only for Virginia Tech but also for the entire country.
“The U.S. must maintain international leadership in advancing technology, and talent is our most critical resource,” U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said in the release. “It’s exciting to see a world-class company like Boeing invest in a program that will help bolster the depth of our nation’s tech talent and drive economic growth in the Washington, D.C., region.”
Nationally, computer science and information technology fields were projected to add 531,200 jobs from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To help meet this demand, the state has committed to creating 31,000 new computer science and computer engineering graduates over 20 years through its Tech Talent Investment Program agreements with 11 universities, according to the release.
The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, which will anchor a 65-acre innovation district in Alexandria, is a major component of Virginia Tech’s commitment to that program.
Lance Collins, vice president and executive director of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, aims to develop the most diverse graduate technology program in the country.
“We launched this campus with an ambitious vision to diversify the talent in high-tech fields,” Collins said in the release. “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 supporting the creation of Tech’s physical campus located in Alexandria, Boeing’s investment will go toward scholarships, fellowships, and a variety of academic programs.