Corning donates $5.5M for scholarships to more than 260 students

By Jackie Torok / 01/14/2021 College of Business and Economics, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Science and Technology

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C., and CORNING, N.Y. (Jan. 14, 2021) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University announced today a $5.5 million gift chiefly to prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and education.

The Corning Incorporated donation kicks off a five-year partnership with A&T, the nation’s largest historically Black university. It will provide scholarships through 2026, with a special focus on enhancing STEM education, helping students become community classroom teachers and boosting the number of graduates in other fields critical to the nation’s workforce.

“This important partnership with Corning represents further validation of the incredible opportunities at our university to enhance the face of the American workplace, bringing additional equity to key market sectors,” said Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “We are deeply grateful to our friends and colleagues at Corning for their generosity.”

Funding will go to students in the College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Science and Technology and the Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics. A&T and Corning will establish a framework for communities to expand STEM education, from providing more highly capable teachers for North Carolina classrooms to preparing students to excel in challenging courses that could otherwise deter them from pursuing STEM careers. Highlights of the partnership:

  • Corning Scholars Program for undergraduate and graduate students: $3.3 million in scholarships for those in STEM fields and to help graduate more Black teachers. Scholarship recipients will come from school districts in regions where Corning Incorporated has operations, with plans to return to teach in those districts after graduation. It also expands college partnerships to strengthen STEM readiness for high school and college graduates.
  • Experiential Learning Opportunities: $1.7 million to build career preparedness and pre-college initiatives through internships, career treks, site visits and other areas. Students also will participate in project competitions, mentorship and networking opportunities with Corning leaders.
  • A&T’s Equity in Education Initiative (E²I): $500,000 for a program to increase the number of Black college graduates securing careers in fields critical to the nation’s workforce. Two initiatives will receive $250,000 each: The Leadership Cohort Initiative in the College of Engineering and the Black Male Initiative in the Deese College of Business and Economics.

E²I, supported by Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), equips undergraduate students with tailored resources and assistance as they pursue degrees in business, engineering and other professional disciplines. MLT’s intensive one-on-one coaching model will arm students with the tools to obtain and succeed in jobs that provide lasting economic mobility for them and their families.

“Corning’s investment in our talented students and our university underscores the confidence they have in our ability to prepare students to innovate and lead and their ongoing commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity,” said Willie A. Deese ’77, namesake of the College of Business and Education. “I believe this partnership has the opportunity to be both enduring and mutually beneficial long term.”

Corning said its priority is to attract, develop, promote and retain the world’s best diverse talent with deep technical and commercial knowledge. Its contribution will help the university fulfill its goal of providing more students with the opportunity to engage in innovative research and mentored scholarship.

“We have a longstanding relationship with North Carolina A&T State University and a growing workforce in North Carolina. Some of our most successful leaders are alumni,” said Michael A. Bell, senior vice president and general manager of Corning’s Optical Communications business, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. “We believe education is the most transformative force in our communities. This new Corning Scholar program will help A&T continue to attract the best students and help fuel Corning with the diverse talent needed for another 170 years of life-changing innovation.”

Corning employs more than 4,000 in North Carolina, with a 50-year history of advanced manufacturing in the state. Across its Optical Communications and Life Sciences divisions, it operates facilities in Hickory, Newton, Concord, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Tarboro, and Durham.

Media Contact Information: jtorok@ncat.edu

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