State partners with K-State engineering through University Engineering Initiative Act renewal
Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021
Gov. Laura Kelly is joined by administrators from Kansas State University, the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering and others at an Oct. 18 signing ceremony for the renewal of the state's University Engineering Initiative Act. | Download this photo.
MANHATTAN — Over the last decade, the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering has used funding from the University Engineering Initiative Act to increase its number of engineering graduates as a way to fuel economic growth and business success in Kansas.
The program was so successful in meeting its goals, funding for a second 10-year program was signed into law by Gov. Laura Kelly in April and celebrated with a signing ceremony Oct. 18 alongside Matt O'Keefe, dean of the College of Engineering and LeRoy C. and Aileen H. Paslay chair, and other leaders in engineering from across the state.
"We are pleased to see the state legislature make another crucial investment in engineering education in the state of Kansas," O'Keefe said. "This partnership has already yielded many tangible benefits to both K-State and the Kansas economy, and we're certain the next 10 years will see a continued high demand for K-State engineering graduates at businesses and firms all over the state and the region."
The ceremonial signing took place on-site at the Topeka engineering firm Bartlett & West, with Gary Clark, senior associate dean, Stacy Hutchinson, associate dean for research and graduate programs, and Sue Peterson, chief government relations officer, joining O'Keefe for the event.
This legislation will support our state’s tradition of churning out great engineers, and we’ll encourage them to use and keep their talents right here in our state," Kelly said in a statement. "I want to thank the bipartisan coalition of legislators, stakeholders and businesses who worked with my administration to make sure this program remained strong and in place.
"My administration will continue to do everything we can to support engineering talent development at our universities and provide opportunities for engineering students to succeed."
The previous University Engineering Initiative Act saw K-State reach and exceed its portion of the overall goal to increase the number of engineering graduates statewide four years early in 2017. The college's 2020-2021 class of 675 bachelor's degree graduates exceeded the goal for the program by nearly 15%.
While the original act focused on increasing the number of engineering graduates in the state to 1,365 students per year, the objective of the current funding is to increase the number of engineers working and living in Kansas.
"We are excited about meeting the challenge of providing education to students who can then contribute to the Kansas economy for decades to come," O'Keefe said. "This program will help reinforce our already strong partnerships with Kansas companies that value the work that we do."
Like the original bill, the renewed University Engineering Initiative Act provides $105 million to K-State, Wichita State University and the University of Kansas over 10 years. Each institution receives $3.5 million per year and matches it with $3.5 million per year from non-state sources.