In an effort to bridge the gap between talent and opportunity, GE Gas Power today announced it is establishing a historic annual scholarship to support underrepresented minorities and women on campus – the largest in the history of Clemson’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.
The scholarship, named the GE John Lammas Annual Scholarship, honors the engineering legend who was instrumental in changing jet travel and power generation during his 35 years at GE. Lammas passed away in April 2020.
In addition to an annual scholarship, GE Gas Power’s investment – totaling $1 million over three years – will establish two pilot programs within the Division of Inclusion and Equity designed to create pathways to college for middle and high school students.
“Diversity and inclusion make innovation and academic excellence even stronger, and I can think of no better way to honor the impact of a deeply respected GE leader than through a gift allowing us to enhance and support the brilliant engineers of the future,” said Clemson University President Jim Clements. “These scholarships and new pilot programs will provide opportunities for underrepresented students and give them the chance to pursue their dreams and earn an education that will help ensure their future success.”
GE Gas Power’s investment in Clemson’s students and programming reinforces the strategic partnership between the company and University, and their support of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, the state’s top engineering school. In 2018, the two organizations announced a 1,000-square-foot Additive Manufacturing Lab housed at GE Power’s Advanced Manufacturing Works facility in Greenville. The Clemson-run lab is home to three state-of-the-art 3D printing machines, and aims to accelerate innovations in additive manufacturing, provide expanded educational opportunities for Clemson undergraduate and graduate students and create a robust engineering talent pipeline for industry across the state. The strategic partnership also extends to GE employees and Clemson alumni, who established the GE Interactive Learning Center at the Watt Family Innovation Center in the heart of Clemson’s main campus.
“GE Gas Power is committed to inclusion and diversity as we know that different viewpoints, perspectives, life experiences and skills drive better team performance,” said John Intile, Vice President, GE Gas Power Engineering. “GE’s ongoing and accelerated partnership with Clemson University is key to our success. It will help us create a diverse talent pipeline that will continue to propel a more inspirational and inclusive workplace with a relentless pursuit of innovation for a better tomorrow.”
Each of the 40 per year $8,000 GE John Lammas Scholarships is open to current or future CECAS students majoring in General Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Information Systems, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering. Student recipients will be eligible for GE’s internships, co-ops and full-time leadership programs.
Honoring an engineering legend
Even among the thousands of top-tier engineers driving global change at GE, John Lammas wasn’t your typical innovator.
An inimitable inventor, charismatic leader and respected visionary, his handiwork can be seen at airports around the world, in desert oil fields and in the way a new generation of flexible and reliable natural gas power plants is helping bring more efficient energy to homes and businesses.
Lammas was a prolific engineer, amassing patents and high-profile projects across numerous business units at GE. At GE Aviation, he helped engineer components for the GE90, for many years the world’s most powerful jet engine, which was only recently dethroned by its successor, the GE9X. Later on, Lammas and his team helped GE Power accomplish another groundbreaking feat: building a power plant with 62.22 percent efficiency in Bouchain, France – earning the company a Guinness World Record as the most efficient combined-cycle power plant in the world.
“A rich diversity of students in engineering will position us to come up with the best possible solutions to the grand challenges we face now and into the future,” said Oliver Myers, Associate Dean of Inclusion and Equity within the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. “We look forward to deepening our collaboration with GE through this historic gift to help students achieve their dreams.”
Programs for future Tigers
The two programs supported by the gift aim to educate and encourage younger students to start their careers with a college education. The Division of Inclusion and Equity’s newly established Women’s Roundtable program will coordinate seminars and other activities specifically for middle and high school girls, to be held at Clemson’s statewide regional summit and Men of Color summit.
They’ve also established a Pre-Tiger Alliance program, extending the already successful Tiger Alliance model to include outreach to 7th- and 8th-grade boys. The Tiger Alliance program is a college-access program designed to help create pathways to college and build a college-going culture for African American and Hispanic ninth- to 12th-grade high school students in the Upstate of South Carolina. Pre-Tiger Alliance programming is slated to begin in 2022. However, this funding will allow for Pre-Tiger Alliance students to attend the Men of Color summit luncheon in November.
Both programs will benefit from professional mentorship through several of GE’s employee-led affinity networks – communities within the company build on common backgrounds, experiences and interests.
“One of our key pillars here at Clemson is creating a climate of diversity, inclusion and respect so our students can thrive throughout their academic and professional careers,” said Lee Gill, Clemson’s Chief Diversity Officer. “Our University – as well as our partners – know diverse voices are critical to innovation. We are proud to partner with global leaders such as GE Gas Power as we drive progress in this arena together.”
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