UA to Mark $1M Donation from American Electric Power Foundation

UA to Mark $1M Donation from American Electric Power Foundation
(University of Arkansas)

The American Electric Power Foundation is giving the University of Arkansas $1 million to support electrical engineering outreach, improve undergraduate research opportunities and provide upgrades to student facilities.

Representatives from Southwestern Electric Power Co., a subsidiary of publicly traded American Electric Power, will join John English, dean of UA engineering college, Stacy Leeds, the UA's vice chancellor for economic development, and others to mark the donation on Thursday at the Bell Engineering Building on the UA campus.

The money counts toward Campaign Arkansas, the university's capital campaign that aims to raise $1.25 billion.

"We are pleased to present this grant to the University of Arkansas' Electrical Engineering department on behalf of the AEP Foundation," Malcolm Smoak, Swepco's president and COO, said in a news release. "This outreach will inspire students to think and learn about engineering, and then enhance the engineering experience when they get to the University of Arkansas. It's a great combination of initiatives."

The money focuses on three areas: the engineering college's K-12 Scholars Program, the "Research Experience for Undergraduates" project and improving lab space in the Department of Electrical Engineering.

The AEP Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its utility operating units, including Swepco, which serves about 120,000 customers in Arkansas.

Juan Carlos Balda, head of the Department of Electrical Engineering, said the money would position the program for long-term growth.

"I am very excited about the opportunities that this gift will open," Balda said. "Financial resources are always limited, so this gift will enable us to move faster with our ideas in terms of increasing enrollment in our department, recruiting talented undergraduates into our graduate program and having facilities that foster innovation and creativity."