Skip to main content
Intellect

BYU announces $10 million donation for engineering global leadership center

Brigham Young University alumni Dave and Rachel Weidman have donated $10 million to fund a new center for global leadership at their alma mater.

The Weidman Center for Global Leadership will be part of the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology, where Dave earned a bachelor’s degree. Rachel also has a bachelor’s degree from BYU.

“In an increasingly global world, today’s engineering and technical talent must be capable of operating on a global stage, leading multi-cultural teams and creating new markets to help companies meet and satisfy customer needs,” stated Dave Weidman, chairman and CEO of Celanese Corporation, a Dallas-based Fortune 500 manufacturer of specialty materials and chemical products used in most major industrial and consumer applications. “Establishing a leadership center dedicated to enabling BYU to develop talented engineers and technologists will help contribute in a meaningful and purposeful way to building tomorrow’s global business, engineering and technology leaders.”

The Weidman Center joins the ranks of recently established leadership-focused programs at top engineering schools at MIT, Stanford and Michigan. It will prepare engineers to leave BYU with not only strong technical skills, but also the ability to lead teams across cultures and time zones.

“The challenges of competing in a global economy and addressing the problems facing humankind will require globally competent leaders with strong technical skills,” said Alan Parkinson, dean of the Ira A. Fulton College. “The Weidmans’ remarkable generosity will allow us to accelerate our efforts to teach and practice leadership in a global context.”

The donation is complete, so the center is fully endowed. The next step will be to hire a director to establish and coordinate even more international experiences for engineering students. The college already sends more than 100 students abroad every year.

The Weidman Center, which will be housed in the Clyde Building, will create more opportunities similar to these two recent examples:

-- As part of a consortium sponsored by GM, BYU engineers led students at 20 institutions spanning 16 time zones and speaking 8 languages in the design and construction of a Formula One racecar.

-- A student team was engaged by a non-profit to design an innovative and cost-effective apparatus that enables poor East African women to turn abundant coconuts into valuable coconut oil. They delivered their oil press to Tanzania and trained women how to use it.

The Center will also support faculty in developing curriculum and establishing international academic and industrial contacts.

One reason BYU’s engineering and technology college is uniquely suited for developing global engineering leaders is the fact that nearly 70 percent of the college’s 3,080 undergraduates and 360 graduate students are fluent in a second language.

This is not the Weidmans’ first donation to BYU. They have been members of BYU’s President’s Leadership Council, a group of generous donors involved with the university, since 2009.

“The Weidman Center will play a critical role in advancing our abilities to prepare BYU students for global leadership,” said university President Cecil O. Samuelson. “Dave and Rachel are great friends to BYU. They don’t seek attention for their good works, but we want them to know we couldn’t be more grateful for their support.”

Like us on facebook.com/byu and follow us on Twitter: @BYU

Related Articles
data-content-type="article"
September 20, 2019
What started out as an opportunity for extra credit in one of his BYU classes led to a month-long, all-expenses-paid trip to China: a “pretty sweet trophy and a very good scholarship.” BYU senior Josh Robinson entered a BYU competition as a chance to get extra credit and won. Then he advanced to the multi-national competition and nabbed the top spot there to earn a seat at the global contest, the Chinese Bridge Proficiency Competition.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"
September 17, 2019
Just making the list could cost your company millions in value
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"
By Sara Jane Aubrey
September 11, 2019
Previous studies found having adverse childhood experiences can lead to poor health outcomes later in life. New BYU research finds the antidote is to counter those with enough positive experiences.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=