Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering will receive an anonymous gift of $1.3 million from an engineering alumnus and his wife to help create leaders in the field of renewable energy.
The donation will help the Santa Clara,
Calif., school launch the Latimer Engineering Scholars Program in the 2011-12 academic
year to support teaching and research in sustainable energy. The program's director
and electrical engineering professor Tim Healy will work with incoming freshman
engineering students, selecting five who will be assigned to laboratory projects.
Initially, the program will focus on photovoltaics and then expand to other renewable-energy
Each student will receive stipends
for working in the laboratory and on their projects. With each successive academic
quarter, Healy says, the students will receive new education, projects and materials
as long as they are successful. The projects will become increasingly sophisticated
after each year, and as the students move up in rank, they will be able to mentor
“The objective is to develop highly
educated undergraduate students in photovoltaics and renewable energy,” Healy says.
After students spend a year or two
in the program, they will be able to pursue internships in places such as the U.S.
Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, and at
solar technology companies like SunPower Corp., in San Jose, Calif., or at one of
the light-emitting diode companies in the Silicon Valley, he says.