Collaborative Learning VT Program Gets Lift from Aviation Giant Boeing

Jul 31, 2018

The aviation giant Boeing is getting behind Virginia Tech's multifacted approach to tackling technology challenges.

The Chicago based aerospace company is putting $3 million into a new interdisciplinary program where Boeing experts will collaborate with Tech students and faculty on projects and problem solving.  President Timothy Sands says they’ll be working on “high impact technology innovation that advances society.”  

It’s also very possible, that some new innovation by a student could show up in future projects at Boeing. Executive Vice President of Government Operations, Tim Keating, said, “Future graduates of the ‘Discovery Program’ will be the creative problem solvers we need at Boeing to continue building the products that connect and transform the world. I can’t wait to see what these students create.”

A Boeing B-29 Superfortress, emblazoned with the Virginia Tech name after a successful bond drive, flew several missions over Japan during World War II.
Credit Courtesy of Special Collections, Virginia Tech University Libraries

The university sees the funding as a mark of industry support for its new collaborative learning model -- part of the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program. It was founded in March when alumnus David Calhoun made a $20 million gift to Honors College

In addition to supporting new faculty for the program, the funding will also go to recruitment and support for students from diverse backgrounds.

Thanassis Rikakis, is the founding chair of the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program, where the project will be based.  He says, “The quality and global recognition of Boeing, as a leader in complex systems development, as well as its commitment to difference and lifelong learning for an innovation economy, makes Boeing an ideal, first industry partner for the discovery program.” 

Boeing is the largest maker of high tech air and spacecraft  in the world. According to a university news release, it’s been a supporter for more than 70 years. 279 Tech alumni currently work there, some in key leadership roles. 

The program will enroll its first students in the fall of 2019.

RADIO IQ is a service of Virginia Tech.