A $20,000 gift from Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. (AECI), with continued gifts for three years, will support a new cooperative engineering program in mechanical engineering established in 2019 by Missouri University of Science and Technology and Missouri State University.
“We are deeply grateful to Associated Electric Cooperative for investing in the partnership between Missouri S&T and Missouri State,” says Dr. Richard Wlezien, S&T’s vice provost and dean of engineering and computing. “AECI’s generous gift will help open the door to engineering for more students in southwest Missouri while supporting workforce development for future professionals across the state.”
The Missouri S&T-Missouri State cooperative engineering program began offering courses toward a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in fall 2019. Classes are taught on the Missouri State campus by faculty members from both universities. The cooperative engineering program is based at the Robert W. Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business Development in Springfield, Missouri. Students may also pursue bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering and electrical engineering through the cooperative program.
“AECI is a long-time supporter of our cooperative engineering program, beginning with the electrical engineering degree established 11 years ago,” says Dr. Doug Carroll, director of the cooperative engineering program. “By providing guest speakers, intern and co-op education opportunities, and financial support, this committed industry partner continues to invest in the next generation of engineers. AECI’s latest gift supporting the launch of our new mechanical engineering program expands that legacy of giving back.”
Springfield-based AECI provides electricity to approximately 910,000 homes, farms, and businesses through 51 local electric cooperatives in Missouri, southeast Iowa and northeast Oklahoma. AECI has provided wholesale power generation, transmission and support services for 58 years, since its founding in 1961.
“We have had the opportunity to hire many graduates from the Missouri S&T-Missouri State cooperative engineering program,” says Jeff Harrison, AECI vice president, engineering and operations. “We are always impressed with the quality of the education provided to these students.”
Mechanical and aerospace engineering is the largest academic department at Missouri S&T, with over 1,200 students and more than 40 full-time faculty members. The department is among the oldest at S&T and dates back more than a century to the university’s pioneering legacy as the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy.