Million Dollar Gift to Fund New Engineering Center in Maine

By: Sara Chauvette

Aerospace company Pratt & Whitney have given a hefty donation to the University of Maine, to fund technological advances in its engineering department.

The Connecticut based business gave $1 million to go toward an engineering center at the E. James and Eileen P. Ferland Engineering and Design Center, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The building, slated for completion in 2020, will span 113,000 square feet, and will include space for a work room, high tech milling machines, a laboratory, classrooms and more. Pratt & Whitney’s gift will fund a tool suite inside.

“This gift will allow our mechanical engineering technology students to gain the hands-on experience that they need to be effective from day one in their careers,” said Dana Humprehy, Dean of the College of Engineering, in a university press release.

The school says it has a 99% placement rate for its engineering students post-graduation, and Pratt & Whitney are big time employers.

Part of UMaine’s motivation in building a new engineering center is to retain local brainpower. In an article, the school says half of the state’s high schoolers who aspire to become engineers go to school outside of Maine. Further, Maine ranks 51st in the nation in per capita amounts of engineers with master’s degrees.

The University says the building will move its department into modernity and the entire state into a new economy. The building’s model and design will complement their desire to provide flexible learning opportunities, including flipped classrooms and integrated assignments and lessons.