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  September 25, 2000

UTC Gives $4 Million to Engineering

University officials announced on Monday that United Technologies Corp. will contribute $4 million to the School of Engineering to support new engineering education initiatives.

The UTC gift is the largest ever to the UConn School of Engineering and the largest corporate gift ever to a public school of engineering in New England. It is also the largest gift UTC has ever given to an educational institution.

The State of Connecticut will match the UTC gift with an additional $2 million.

The combined $6 million from UTC and the state will be used to endow three chaired faculty positions, establish an Advanced Technology Clinic, sponsor four junior faculty positions and establish a $1 million endowment for undergraduate scholarships.

"The timing of this gift is especially opportune, as a national crisis looms on the horizon because of a national shortage of engineering students," said President Philip E. Austin. "The gift enhances UConn's ability to continue to produce highly qualified engineering graduates who are competitive worldwide and able to serve the changing needs of corporations such as United Technologies. For more than 50 years, we have been partners with UTC in educating students and improving the economy of a state noted for its enterprise and innovation. This gift will help the School of Engineering achieve the highest levels of excellence in research and teaching and set a new standard for public schools of engineering in the nation," he added.

Enrollment in engineering programs nationwide has been declining for years. The University has worked hard to reverse that trend and in the last three years has had nearly a 60 percent increase in enrollment in the School of Engineering. The number of engineering students who paid their deposits this fall totaled 267, up from 158 in 1997.

"In a global economy, knowledge-based work will be the focus of future U.S. economic success," said George David, UTC chairman and CEO. "This gift demonstrates our belief that education will be the key to maintaining the competitive positions of not only UTC but other technology-focused companies as well."

David, who noted that UTC pays tuition for employees who earn college degrees and rewards them with stock upon graduation, said that the corporation contributes heavily to educational institutions. "There is no doubt about it," he said, "knowledge is what it is all about."

Gov. John G. Rowland said he is grateful to UTC for supporting UConn because "my goal from day one has been to stop the brain drain" from Connecticut. Both UTC and UConn have invested heavily in our state, he said, adding that he is proud of the University's fund-raising efforts.

UTC's gift is a model for other corporations, Rowland added, citing the company's gift last year of land in East Hartford for UConn's football stadium. Ground will be broken for the stadium later this fall.

Two million dollars of the UTC gift, plus $1 million in state matching funds, will support three endowed chair professorships in research: the UTC Chair in Systems Engineering; the UTC Chair in Thermal Fluids Engineering; and the Pratt &Whitney Chair in Design and Manufacturing.

The gift also will provide $1.33 million, plus $670,000 in matching state funds, to endow an Advanced Technology Clinic for joint research between engineering faculty and UTC. The endowment will allow four professors to work with graduate and undergraduate research assistants, and provide the professors with summer positions at a UTC business unit or at the United Technologies Research Center.

The UTC contribution also includes $670,000, plus $330,000 in state matching funds, to create at least 10 undergraduate scholarships per year for four years.

UTC provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the building systems and aerospace industries. Those products include Pratt &Whitney aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines; Carrier heating, air conditioning and refrigeration; Otis elevator, escalator and people movers; Hamilton Sundstrand aerospace and industrial products; Sikorsky helicopters and International Fuel Cell power systems.

Karen A. Grava