Global aerospace and defense industry leader Lockheed Martin recently pledged a $125,000 corporate donation supporting student scholarships to its growing partnership aimed at expanding employment opportunities for Tuskegee University students after graduation.
Company leaders announced the gift at a meeting with College of Engineering dean Dr. Heshmat Aglan, and President Lily D. McNair in support of McNair’s “Campaign for Leadership and Excellence.” The campaign — launched in conjunction with McNair’s inauguration and concluding in June — sought to raise $1 million in gifts for student scholarships. At campaign end, alumni and donors like Lockheed Martin had contributed more than $1 million toward the cause.
“We thank Lockheed Martin for believing in our students and supporting our faculty’s efforts to prepare them for successful and rewarding careers,” McNair said. “We seek to equip our students to be leaders in their chosen professions and the communities where they will work and live. Partners like Lockheed Martin are vital to us achieving that goal.”
A group of Lockheed Martin executives were on campus in April for the university’s annual Tuskegee University Business and Engineering (TUBE) Conference – an annual event helping to better prepare students for their post-graduate professional careers, and to network with corporate leaders and university alumni. As part of the conference, the group participated in a panel comprised of business professionals preparing students for their future careers by sharing their perspectives on topics ranging from attire and etiquette to financial planning.
“We’re grateful for Lockheed Martin’s direct involvement in our student development and academic programs,” said Dr. Roberta Troy, Tuskegee’s interim provost. “They are exposing our students to corporate expectations and professional opportunities, as well as future internship and career experiences.”
Troy said business leaders sharing this type of knowledge with students is a vital component of the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, developed last year in conjunction with its March 2018 reaffirmation of accreditation visit by the Southern Association of Colleges and School’s Commission on Colleges. The QEP, “Roadmap from Early Achievement to a Career High,” or “REACH,” will feature new and enhanced programs and activities to better prepare students to be equipped, competitive and successful as they strive to achieve their educational and career goals.
“Lockheed Martin serves as a model for how industry can partner with Tuskegee’s academic and career-readiness programs to enhance our students’ experiential learning,” Aglan said.
Lockheed Martin currently employs more than 60 Tuskegee alumni, and the company hopes by expanding its partnership with the university, it will add more future graduates to its ranks.
“Through the Tuskegee alumni who already are a part of our workforce, we keep learning every single day of the potential Tuskegee graduates possess,” said Scott Trapp, Lockheed Martin’s director of global diversity and inclusion.
Tuskegee’s “model programs” like its FASTREC summer bridge program in the College of Engineering and its university-wide career fairs complement Lockheed Martin’s corporate goals for greater ethnic and gender diversity, Trapp continued.
“Those programs, along with being home to the country’s only HBCU-based aerospace engineering program, make the university an ideal partner,” he said. “Lockheed Martin looks to tap into those unique advantages in leveraging its own diversity programs, which ultimately will lead to increased internship and full-time employment opportunities for Tuskegee students.”
“These unique attributes, and the tremendous growth and development we see in Tuskegee’s students and its academic programs, continue to fuel the success of our partnership, as well as Lockheed Martin’s philanthropic support of the university,” said Derek McGowan, the company’s program manager for STEM, Generations and Higher Education, who has managed relations with its HBCU partners, including Tuskegee, for more than 16 years.
“Tuskegee’s success in recruiting, retaining and graduating high concentrations of female aerospace and chemical engineering students makes the university of tremendous interest to companies like Lockheed Martin,” said Beverly Walker, Lockheed Martin’s campus manager for university relations. “There is a significant need for greater gender diversity in the STEM workforce, and attaining that diversity is paramount to Lockheed Martin.”
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. For additional information, visit www.lockheedmartin.com.