A new bachelor’s degree program in engineering offered through a Mississippi State University and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College partnership received a $150,000 boost from Chevron on Monday, November 2.
Chevron Pascagoula and Chevron Gulf of Mexico made a joint presentation to support the MSU/MGCCC Engineering on the Coast program. The gift supports the purchase of lab equipment for the four-year program located at MGCCC’s Jackson County Campus.
Bruce Chinn, general manager of Chevron’s Pascagoula Refinery, and Mike Illanne, vice president of the Gulf of Mexico Business Unit made the presentation to MSU President Mark E. Keenum and MGCCC President Mary S. Graham.
“It’s exciting to think about all of the potential and the benefits this partnership between Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Mississippi State University will bring to students in Jackson County and throughout the Gulf Coast region,” Chinn said. “This program will make a world-class engineering education more accessible for so many students. From my perspective at Chevron’s Pascagoula Refinery, there is tremendous value in being able to cultivate this highly educated workforce right here in Jackson County. We appreciate the opportunity to support this program.”
Keenum said, “We appreciate the generosity of Chevron Pascagoula and Chevron Gulf of Mexico in supporting this new initiative. They recognize the impact this program will have in producing engineering graduates to meet the needs of business and industry throughout the Gulf Coast region.”
Graham said Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College strives to offer students the best opportunities for achieving their educational goals close to home. “Our partnership with Mississippi State University and Chevron is opening doors for our students to a baccalaureate degree in engineering, where they can learn in world-class laboratories that will prepare them for the workplace.”
Jason Keith, dean of MSU’s James Worth Bagley College of Engineering, said a recent orientation session drew nearly 50 interested students, and the university is making final plans for electrical engineering courses to begin in January and mechanical engineering classes to begin in August. “This gift will have a big impact on the future of this project. The funds will help establish a thermo-fluids laboratory to provide state-of-the-art training to students,” he said.
Others on hand included Jerry Gilbert, MSU provost and executive vice president; Pedro Mago, MSU department head and PACCAR chair for mechanical engineering; Nicolas Younan, MSU department head and James Worth Bagley chair for electrical engineering; and Carmen Walters, vice president for MGCCC’s Jackson County Campus.
MSU’s Bagley College offers two Bachelor of Science degrees through collaboration with MGCCC at the Jackson County Campus. Students can complete a two-year Associate of Science degree from MGCCC before enrolling in electrical or mechanical engineering classes leading to bachelor’s degrees from Mississippi State. The engineering classes are offered by Bagley College faculty on campus at Gautier and through synchronous online delivery from MSU’s Starkville campus.
The National Science Foundation ranks MSU in the top 10 percent nationally for engineering expenditures in research and development. U.S. News and World Report ranks its undergraduate and graduate programs in the top 100 nationwide. The Bagley College, MSU’s second largest college, offers degree programs in eight different academic engineering departments and 10 certificate programs.
Participants at Monday’s ceremony also enjoyed a tour of the engineering lab. Almost 40 community members, MGCCC students, faculty, staff and administration, and Chevron and MSU representatives were in attendance.