GE chairman/CEO presents $400,000 to support Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO at General Electric (GE), presented a check today (Oct. 26) for $400,000 to Penn State President Rodney Erickson during a visit to the University Park campus. The funds will support scholarships in three Penn State colleges and sponsored research in the College of Engineering.

Immelt’s visit highlights his company’s ongoing partnership with Penn State. He talked to students, faculty, staff and academic leaders about the importance of continued cooperation between GE and Penn State, focused on the education of a global workforce and continued innovation through research.

“Penn State is a big part of GE’s future,” Immelt said. “The school’s alumni have filled our ranks with great leaders. Their students give us a bright and competitive future. We see this relationship moving forward in a big way.”

Penn State conducts more than $100 million annually in industry-sponsored research, and corporate recruiters have named the University No. 1 for producing well-prepared graduates, according to a 2010 Wall Street Journal poll.

Over the course of GE’s partnership with Penn State, the company has provided more than $23 million in funding for philanthropy and sponsored research in areas including materials science, engineering and energy. The funds that Immelt will present today reflect the breadth of that relationship:

-- The GE Foundation, which has been a strong supporter of education research, scholarship and workforce training programs at Penn State, will provide $100,000 to create two GE Competing for the Future Scholarships for 10 years. These scholarships, one each in the College of Engineering and the Smeal College of Business, will support undergraduate students who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

-- GE employees who are Penn State alumni are raising $100,000 to create the GE Penn State Alumni Scholarship Fund. This endowed scholarship, which will support students in the College of Engineering, the Smeal College of Business and the College of Information Sciences and Technology, honors the strong recruiting relationship between GE and Penn State. Penn State is among GE's top five schools for recruitment and employs about 1,250 alumni in positions across the organization.

-- Approximately $200,000 from GE Corporate will sponsor research in the College of Engineering on the UG Mining Durathon Battery Advanced Packaging project, which will study the feasibility of employing GE’s Durathon industrial battery in underground mine cars. This innovative nickel-sodium battery lasts longer, is more efficient and would lead to greater productivity than the lead-acid batteries currently used.

“We are extremely grateful to Mr. Immelt, GE’s Penn State alumni and the entire GE organization for the support they are providing today, which amounts to a vote of confidence in Penn State and an expression of our shared goals,” Erickson said. “GE’s leaders have shown time and again that they recognize the value of what a student-centered research university like Penn State can accomplish. I certainly recognize the value of their generosity and their collaboration, which enhance the accessibility of a Penn State education, provide fantastic opportunities for our students to engage in real-world research, and lead to exciting innovations across a range of fields.”

During his visit, Immelt was scheduled to moderate discussion on business, leadership and competition at the Business Building on campus, and tour the Millenium Science Complex, Penn State’s new state-of-the-art, 297,000-square-foot interdisciplinary research facility.

Immelt has held several global leadership positions since coming to GE in 1982, including roles in GE's plastics, appliance and health care businesses. He was appointed president and chief executive officer in 2000 and chairman in 2001. A graduate of Dartmouth College and holder of a master of business administration degree from Harvard, he is the chairman of President Barack Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Immelt’s visit is being sponsored by the University's Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, and jointly hosted by Penn State’s College of Engineering, College of Information Sciences and Technology, and the Smeal College of Business.

To view photos of Immelt's visit, go to http://live.psu.edu/flickrset/72157631858899341.

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Last Updated October 31, 2012