Last April, Virginia Tech's Student Engineers' Council (SEC) announced the creation of an endowment to benefit student design teams at the university. With the beginning of the fall semester, The Boeing Company increased the size of this endowment with a gift of $50,000 from its Global Corporate Citizenship (GCC) disaster relief team budget.

“The Boeing Company was looking for a way to honor those who were slain on April 16, and the leadership of the GCC team enthusiastically endorsed my recommendation for a $50,000 contribution to this SEC endowment fund,” said Marc Sheffler, a senior engineering manager with the aerospace giant, the Boeing Executive Focal to Virginia Tech and a 1973 aerospace engineering alumnus of Virginia Tech.

Sheffler has also arranged for this $50,000 gift to be supplemented with another $15,000 from The Boeing Company’s grants program.

When the SEC created the endowment in the spring of 2007, it used $105,000 of money it generated from the career fair it hosts annually on campus.

By creating the endowment, the SEC created a permanent funding source for the dozens of engineering design teams in the college.

“The SEC is using the excess income it generates from the career fair, Engineering Expo, and creating a long lasting source of money that will benefit the design teams of the College of Engineering for years to come,” said Lianne Sandberg, chair of the SEC. “The generosity of The Boeing Company is truly overwhelming,” she added.

“Our goal is have this endowment reach $500,000, depending upon how well Expo is run throughout the next few years. However in the interim, the new endowment will provide some assistance by using the interest generated off the principal amount,” Sandberg, a senior in mechanical engineering, said. “And with The Boeing Company’s gift, we will get to our goal of $500,000 that much sooner."

“Once the overall goal is reached, design teams would be eligible to apply for a set amount of money that will help fund their team in design, travel, or any other costs they might have. As these design teams succeed in competitions, they truly show how great the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech really is,” Sandberg said.

“This endowment is loaded with potential and we will see it support student involvement, innovation, and ownership in their education. The SEC is truly realizing its vision to serve the College of Engineering, engineering student societies, and engineering students by planting and nourishing this financial seed. The SEC is sincerely grateful for every single sponsor; without them, none of this would be possible,” added Michael Chappell, now an alumnus of the university who works as an analyst with Accenture. Chappell, now of Alexandria, Va., was the 2005-06 SEC chair who originally conceived of the design team endowment.

Prior to this most recent gift, the SEC had already twice earned the most philanthropic student organization in the country by the National Association of Engineering Student Councils. These recognitions were in 2003 and in 2006 for past gifts of cash to support programs in Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering.

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