Boeing commits $50 million to innovation campus to become first foundational partner
Transformative investment will help diversify the technology industry and bolster the Washington, D.C., region as a global innovation hub.
Boeing has been named as the first foundational partner of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Alexandria, Virginia.
A $50 million, multiyear commitment from the company will help jump-start Virginia Tech’s effort to create the most diverse graduate technology campus in the United States. 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, which equals the largest gift ever made to the university, builds on a relationship between Boeing and Virginia Tech that spans more than 70 years.
Virginia Tech and Boeing announced the partnership at 10:30 a.m. on May 4.
“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.”
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said Boeing’s support is great news, not only for Virginia Tech but also for the entire country.
“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.”
Nationally, computer science and information technology fields were projected to add 531,200 jobs from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To help meet this demand, the Commonwealth of Virginia has committed to creating 31,000 new computer science and computer engineering graduates over 20 years through its Tech Talent Investment Program agreements with 11 universities.
The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, which will anchor a 65-acre innovation district in Alexandria, is a major component of Virginia Tech’s commitment to that program.
Lance Collins, vice president and executive director of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, aims to develop the most diverse graduate technology program in the country.
“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.”
Along with supporting the creation of a dynamic new physical campus located in Alexandria — a nexus of government, industry, and research — Boeing’s investment will go toward scholarships, fellowships, and a variety of academic programs.
New financial aid for students made possible by Boeing will include:
- Full scholarships to attract, retain, and propel a diverse cohort of master’s degree students.
- Additional scholarships for potential future students looking to complete prerequisite courses and qualify for Innovation Campus admission.
- Ph.D. fellowships to attract a highly skilled and diverse cohort of researchers.
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 stretch beyond higher education, through outreach from the Innovation Campus that will include:
- 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 a resident of Alexandria, complimented Boeing for its support of 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.”