UNC Charlotte has staked its claim to another "EPIC" gift from a global energy leader.
AREVA Inc. announced on April 20 more than $2 million in financial support for the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte. EPIC is a partnership between UNC Charlotte, state and local governments and corporations, including several energy companies with major footprints in the Charlotte area.
The EPIC facility is nearing completion on campus, overlooking the site of the new football stadium. EPIC was created as a public-private effort to solve a major problem facing the United States, Charlotte and the Carolinas. The energy industry needs more engineers to operate and maintain the next generation of energy companies and power generation facilities. EPIC will train tomorrow’s energy engineers and will provide research space for industry and partnerships between energy companies and UNC Charlotte’s William States Lee College of Engineering. EPIC also will offer a range of interdisciplinary programs with other UNC Charlotte colleges.
AREVA has nearly 600 employees working in the Charlotte area on a variety of clean-energy projects; it hired twice as many new engineers from UNC Charlotte in 2009-10 than from any other North Carolina university.
"We are pleased to work with UNC Charlotte in advancing the critical need of continuing to invest in the next generation of engineering talent and to aid in advancing engineering research,” said Michael Rencheck, chief executive officer of AREVA. "AREVA’s commitment to Charlotte and connection to the University runs deep, and we look forward to a continued partnership."
Chancellor Philip L. Dubois said commitments from companies such as AREVA are vital to the future success of EPIC. The commitment follows other multimillion-dollar pledges from regional energy companies, including Duke Energy, Siemens Energy and Westinghouse. “With these investments in engineering education and research, UNC Charlotte is staking its claim to the future of energy production,” he said. “That’s great news for our energy production sector, the regional economy, and the community.”
The commitment from AREVA includes various types of support, including funding for scholarships, programs and equipment.