General Motors Corp., Sun Microsystems and EDS today announced a gift valued at $313.8 million to Brigham Young University that will enable students to step directly from the classroom into the corporate world.
Partners for the Advancement of CAD/CAM/CAE Education, an alliance formed among GM, Sun Microsystems and EDS to support academic institutions with computer-based engineering and design tools, have donated 2,275 software licenses, including those GM uses in its math-based vehicle development process.
BYU is the first university to be accepted by the PACE program based on the strength of its collaboration between industrial design and engineering. This is the largest, single PACE contribution to date.
"The university thanks PACE for its important investment in BYU faculty and students," said university President Merrill J. Bateman. "BYU engineering and design students have a strong tradition of success using CAD/CAM/CAE software. Our ongoing relationship with PACE will undoubtedly accelerate that success and produce innovations in and out of the classroom."
The largest corporate gift in BYU history, PACE's contribution will benefit the entire campus, starting with students in manufacturing engineering and industrial design. Other BYU departments that shortly will be impacted by the gift include those in the College of Fine Arts and Communications, the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, the College of Health and Human Performance, the College of Biology and Agriculture and the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences.
With the software package, engineering and industrial design students can digitally design 3-D views of a vehicle that can be transferred to other software programs for stress analysis, manufacturing and marketing.
Wayne Cherry, vice president of design for GM, said the gift to BYU represents an investment in the automaker's future.
"At GM we know that innovative approaches are the lifeblood of success," said Cherry. "BYU and GM are both developing a dynamic collaboration of tools, processes and working relationships for a lean, fast and creative methodology."
Using Unigraphics software from EDS' PLM Solutions, students will be able to share their designs online to accelerate product development and to address increased productivity demands - ideal for the globally competitive car industry, which may design in Singapore, engineer in Detroit and manufacture in China.
"We are committed to improving the technical stature of academic institutions and their ability to develop top-notch engineers and technologists for our global communities, customers and business partners," said Ed Arlin, president, Global GM Account for EDS PLM Solutions. "We believe that EDS must help academic institutions increase the skills of the work force, introduce the most advanced technologies and improve product life cycle management. We are proud to team with BYU's strong academic leaders and gifted students in this important collaborative initiative."
Douglas M. Chabries, dean of the College of Engineering, said: "Our goal is to prepare students with the tools they need to compete and innovate for the future. This donation allows BYU engineering students to design car parts and test and reconfigure them for efficient manufacturing."
Sixty percent of the Internet runs on Sun Microsystems servers, making the company's involvement vital for students' education.
"Sun's partnership with the PACE Program provides students and faculty access to industry-leading computing resources," said Joe Hartley, director, U.S. Education and Research for Sun Microsystems. "We are pleased to partner with BYU to help them attract and retain the brightest students and faculty in today's global competitive marketplace. Implementation of infrastructure in classrooms today means innovation in our companies of tomorrow."
BYU becomes the 21st institution to join the PACE program. Since its inception in 1999, the corporate partnership has donated software, hardware, training and technical support with a value of more than $1.3 billion to schools such as Purdue, Michigan State, Northwestern and Virginia Tech.
Selected universities are invited to participate based on several criteria, including: a long-term relationship with GM as a primary educational partner and a strong recruiting relationship; strength in design, engineering and manufacturing; and the institution's current and intended interest in developing curricula using PACE products and processes.
Thomas L. Erekson, director of the School of Technology, said his school's long-term relationship with GM was important to securing BYU's invitation to join PACE.
"Our ties to PACE via our industrial design program stretch throughout the years, and we are excited to continue our relationship with these wonderful companies," said Erekson. "The biggest winners in all of this, however, are the hard working and gifted students who will gain the experience they need to bring their insight, talents and ideas into the world."