March 31, 2005

Caterpillar, Inc. donates money for scholarships

by Pete Rosenbery


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Peoria-based Caterpillar Inc. today (March 31) presented Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a grant that provides student scholarships and support for programs in the College of Engineering and the College of Business and Administration.

Proceeds from the Caterpillar Foundation for the Cat Excellence Fund at SIUC will also focus on minority and diversity programs in both colleges. The funding amount is not being disclosed. Plans are to renew the grant annually because of the company's continued relationship with the University.

"This institution for many years has provided Caterpillar with excellent employees with the technical skills and leadership qualities that we need that allow Caterpillar to continue to grow," Caterpillar senior project engineer Tim Cross said. "The Caterpillar Excellence Fund will continue that support by providing support for student programs and curriculum to develop, recruit and retain students of diverse backgrounds and experiences."

Provost and Vice Chancellor John M. Dunn said the University appreciates very much Caterpillar's continued support and commitment. He is particularly pleased Caterpillar "supports and recognizes the University's commitment to diversity and has identified some of the funds to support programs and services that benefit students from minority communities."

"This gift represents an investment in the future of the University and will be used to support students and programs in the College of Business Administration and College of

Engineering," Dunn said. "Caterpillar has identified SIUC as a strategic partner, which is a tribute to our students and faculty and an honor we will use to further our commitment to excellence."

For the last three years SIUC has been one of 12 strategic partners for Caterpillar – where the company recruits at campuses that offer a combination of majors in multiple disciplines. Those disciplines include engineering, business and accounting, information technology, marketing and industrial technology, said Cross, who graduated from SIUC in 1981 with a computer engineering degree.

"This is a tremendous day for SIUC," said Rickey N. McCurry, vice-chancellor for institutional advancement. "This is our third year as a strategic partner and Caterpillar has been very supportive of us."

The grant "is just further indication of that growing partnership," he said.

The funds are to enhance the opportunities for students through scholarships and minority and diversity recruitment, Cross said.

"Caterpillar being a global company, we know that we need many diverse perspectives," Cross said. "We need to think outside the Midwest. Even though we are a strong Midwestern company, we want perspectives and views that are broader than that.

"Southern provides a good resource," he said. "We have a good, diverse set of students on campus and that is why they are one of our strategic partners."

Among the collaborations involving SIUC and Caterpillar is the company's donation last year of two U.S. patents, several foreign patents and $85,000 in associated funds for research and development of a mono-valve engine – which could lead to groundbreaking engine advancements that provide more power, greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

Establishing relationships with private industry and promoting the University as a research institution of high quality are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

(Caption: Continuing A Strong Relationship – Southern Illinois University Carbondale Provost and Vice Chancellor John M. Dunn (center) holds a check the University received Thursday, March 31 from the Caterpillar Foundation. The grant will be used to provide student scholarships and support for programs in the College of Engineering and College of Business and Administration, and also focus on minority and diversity programs in both colleges. With Dunn are (left) Tim Cross, senior project engineer for Peoria-based Caterpillar Inc., and Rickey N. McCurry, SIUC’s vice chancellor for institutional advancement.)

Photo by Steve Buhman