Dow Chemical gift to support diversity in engineering

Alongtime corporate contributor of Mississippi State University is again making an impact in the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering. A $750,000 gift from Dow Chemical will support diversity programs in engineering for the next three years.

Eduardo Do Val, site operations director for Dow Chemical in Plaquemine, Louisiana, made the announcement during a recent visit to Mississippi State’s campus.

“Mississippi State is a very strong university for Dow recruiting,” Do Val said. “The education, work ethic and individual people skills that MSU fosters is what we look for and it’s why we have so many MSU alumni working for us.”

During the MSU visit, Do Val and other representatives of Dow Chemical toured laboratories, met with faculty and students, and received a personal demonstration of the engineering college’s Society of Automotive Engineers Formula Racing vehicles. They also met with college and university leaders to discuss the needs of engineering and how the two organizations can work together for the future of the industry.

Veronica Leigh Hill, supply chain director for chlorinated organics and environmental business at Dow Chemical, explained the company’s interest in promoting diversity in engineering.

“As essentially a customer of the university, Dow has a vested interest in supporting student development,” Hill, a 1984 Mississippi State chemical engineering graduate, said. “That’s why it’s important to support laboratories, cooperative education and diversity programs, because these are the things that shape students and ensure a well-rounded workforce.”

This latest sponsorship from Dow will support four of the Bagley College’s established diversity programs and will help ensure their continued development for at least the next three years.

“Dow’s contribution demonstrates a vision for the future of the engineering workforce which will be characterized by diversity,” said Jerry Gilbert, Mississippi State provost and executive vice president. “I commend the leadership of Dow for their foresight and thank them for partnering with Mississippi State.”

The largest portion of the donation will support the continued development and promotion of Summer Bridge, a program that aims to close the academic and social gaps of minority students majoring in engineering. The five-week program helps incoming minority freshmen adjust to college life and get a jump-start on their courses.

Additional funding has been allotted to establish four-year scholarships for 12 Summer Bridge participants and to each year support three faculty members identified as Dow Diversity Fellows, for their commitment to increasing diversity in engineering. The remainder of the gift will sponsor I AM GIRL, a project designed to generate interest in engineering and science-related fields among middle school girls.

The Dow gift is part of the university’s ongoing Infinite Impact capital campaign. Through the campaign, the Bagley College has specific goals revolving around success, discovery, outreach, globalization and experience as its works to elevate its stature. Additional information about the Bagley College’s goals can be found at www.bagley.msstate.edu or visit infiniteimapctmsu.com to learn how you can support the college with gifts.

By Susan Lassetter



TOP: Dow Chemical’s Eduardo Do Val looks on while fellow Dow representative Richard Rolke receives instruction on driving MSU’s formula race car from team leader Dash Robinson. BOTTOM: Dow Chemical representatives tour MSU campus laboratories.