The grant will help support the school’s academic programs, student scholarships and prospective student outreach efforts.
BANGOR, MAINE, Oct. 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Husson University has received a $500,000 grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation to support its School of Technology and Innovation (SoTI). Delivering a variety of technology-focused academic programs, SoTI will use the funds to support student scholarships, prepare students for professional careers in support of Maine’s workforce, hire additional faculty and bolster prospective student outreach efforts in Maine and across New England.
The grant is part of an ongoing partnership between Husson University and the Harold Alfond Foundation to support SoTI’s technology programs, with an emphasis being placed on the school’s extended reality (XR) program. An initial $2.2 million Alfond grant was awarded to Husson University in 2022 to support SoTI’s unique academic programs in existing and emerging fields of technology.
“We are extremely excited about the Alfond Foundation’s continued commitment to Husson University and specifically the School of Technology and Innovation,” Michael Knupp, Ph.D(c), SoTI director and Husson assistant professor, said. “The new grant plays an integral role in our continued advancement of technology offerings and capabilities within SoTI.”
SoTI, housed in the Husson University College of Business’s new Harold Alfond Hall, currently hosts degree programs in computer information systems, extended reality (XR), software development and business analytics. It’s also home to the iEX center, which gives students and faculty the opportunity to experiment with various augmented and virtual reality technologies and develop real-world applications for educational and business needs.
“Through previous support we have been able to bring on new staff, acquire equipment, and strengthen our marketing and outreach,” Knupp continued. "As such, over the last two years we have nearly doubled our student enrollment in STEM degrees while at the same time enriching the student experience. The new grant allows us to bring on essential staff within our extended reality program and the iEX Center. Husson remains committed to professional education and experiential learning, especially within the STEM disciplines. A key factor of our success model is having partners like the Alfond Foundation.”
“Husson is an agile institution that consistently examines how it can best meet ever-changing workplace demands,” Greg Powell, Chairman of the Board for the Harold Alfond Foundation, said. “They were early adopters of XR technologies, recognizing a growing workforce demand for XR skills. They are an excellent example of a Maine institution focused on growing STEM competency through experiential education.”
In addition to the school’s on-campus academic programs, SoTI is also partnering with external organizations to bring further training and learning opportunities to students. For example, SoTI recently announced a partnership with Pixotope, a Norway-based company that is the leading software platform for end-to-end realtime virtual production solutions, via the Pixotope Education Program. The partnership is Pixotope’s first venture into the United States and will serve to increase student access to XR training, technology and industry professionals.
Founded in 1950, the Harold Alfond Foundation furthers the philanthropic legacy of Harold Alfond, the founder of Dexter Shoe Company and a longtime supporter of Maine communities in which he and his family worked and resided. He ensured that his philanthropy would live on by committing nearly all of his wealth to the Foundation, which continues to support charitable causes in the State of Maine. Consistent with Harold Alfond’s own giving pattern and philanthropic principles, the Foundation favors education, healthcare, youth development, and other selected charitable causes. For more information, visit the Harold Alfond Foundation website.
For 125 years, Husson University has shown its adaptability and strength in delivering educational programs that prepare future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent a superior value in higher education. The hallmarks of a Husson education include advanced knowledge delivered through quality educational programs. According to an analysis of tuition and fees by U.S. News & World Report, Husson University is one of the most affordable private colleges in New England. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.
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