ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WFXR) — On Tuesday morning, Boeing was officially named the first foundational partner of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Alexandria through a $50 million, multiyear commitment aiming to create the most diverse graduate technology campus in the country.
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.
“We are extremely grateful to Boeing for this extraordinarily generous show of support,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said. “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 — marking the largest gift ever made to the university — builds on a relationship between Boeing and Virginia Tech formed more than 70 years ago.
“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,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun, a Virginia Tech alumnus. “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.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner says Boeing’s support is great news for both Virginia Tech and for the United States.
“The U.S. must maintain international leadership in advancing technology, and talent is our most critical resource,” Warner said. “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.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer science and information technology fields were projected to add 531,200 jobs nationwide from 2019 to 2029.
Therefore, as a way to help meet this demand, Virginia committed to using the Tech Talent Investment Program agreements with 11 universities in order to create 31,000 new computer science and computer engineering graduates over the course of 20 years.
The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, which is set to anchor a 65-acre innovation district in Alexandria, is a major component of Virginia Tech’s involvement in that program.
Lance Collins, vice president and executive director of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, hopes to develop America’s most diverse graduate technology program.
“We launched this campus with an ambitious vision to diversify the talent in high-tech fields,” Collins said. “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.”
However, Boeing’s investment will not just create a new campus in Alexandria; it will also go toward scholarships, fellowships, and various academic programs.
School officials say new financial aid — which is listed below — will be made possible for students thanks to Boeing:
- Scholarships to attract, retain, and propel a diverse group of master’s degree students.
- Additional scholarships for future students looking to complete prerequisite courses and qualify for Innovation Campus admission.
- Ph.D. fellowships to draw a highly skilled and diverse cohort of researchers.
In addition, according to Virginia Tech, Boeing’s support will enable new programs and initiatives to be launched through the center, including:
- A data-driven approach to inclusion- and diversity-focused student recruitment that can serve as best practice for higher education.
- A student success center, providing wraparound academic support.
- A new technology leadership program to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to reshape the culture of the technology center.
- A unique, project-based curriculum that embeds students with industry mentors.
- Collaborative research projects focused on strategic learning domains.
- Programs that provide opportunities for non-traditional undergraduates, including veterans, to eventually enroll and succeed at the Innovation Campus.
The impact of Boeing’s support will also include the following outreach opportunities from the Innovation Campus:
- A scalable, K-12 STEM engagement program that will drive the future of diversity in the technology sector.
- Funding for a K-12 program director who will develop, implement, and lead a strategy to expand access to technology related disciplines.
Letitia Long — vice rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, an alumna of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, and an Alexandria resident — complimented Boeing for supporting the Innovation Campus’ vision to broaden access to higher education in high-tech fields.
“Alexandria and the entire D.C. region is very diverse,” Long said. “I hope every talented student who has an interest in computer science or computer engineering sees themselves at this campus one day. Boeing’s generous and strategic gift is a big step in realizing the Innovation Campus’ vision.”
You can watch the full livestream of the Innovation Campus announcement below: