DSM Dyneema to fund EC Scholar award

High-performance materials manufacturer DSM Dyneema will fund an EC Scholar award to be earmarked for an engineering student beginning the 2016-2017 academic year.

DSM Dyneema, which has a Greenville manufacturing facility, and East Carolina University made the announcement March 17 in ECU’s Mamie Jenkins Building, the administrative home of the Honors College.

“This is an exciting day for the EC Scholars program and the start to a valuable relationship benefiting our students, the Honors College and the College of Engineering and Technology,” said Todd Fraley, director of the EC Scholars Award Program. “The commitment shown by DSM Dyneema to the development of our students is truly appreciated.”

EC Scholars is the most prestigious undergraduate award program offered at ECU. The four-year merit scholarship recognizes outstanding academic performance, commitment to community engagement and strong leadership skills. Recipients receive an Honors College scholarship for four years, along with a stipend for study abroad, for a total value of $61,000.

The scholarship funded annually by DSM Dyneema will be one of 20 EC Scholar awards given each year. Intended engineering majors beginning fall 2016 will be eligible.

DSM Dyneema Engineering Director Scott Quinn said the company is happy to partner with ECU to provide the scholarship opportunity. The company pledged $40,000 for the award and a guaranteed paid internship for the selected student.

“We recognize the tremendous strengths of ECU’s engineering program and the positive impact it has on our region and our future workforce,” Quinn said. “Through the DSM Dyneema EC Scholar for Engineering Award, our partnership will further enhance the engineering program at ECU and continue to draw in high-caliber students pursuing a career in engineering.”

Quinn added that the company hopes to encourage other industry and business to fund similar EC Scholar awards.

“We are making an investment in the development of our region and its workforce, and we hope that other industries will recognize the benefits and join us in this effort,” he said.

Hayden Griffin, chair of ECU’s engineering department, said DSM Dyneema’s commitment “really shows how important our programs are to local industry. This industry came to us and said ‘we want to do it.’ ”

There are 28 Honors College students – including eight EC Scholars – currently majoring in engineering. Having a scholarship dedicated for an engineering student will be a great recruitment tool, Griffin said.

“It is important for industry to collaborate with educational institutions to further develop and cultivate the talent pipeline,” said Jim Lawless, DSM Dyneema site director. “We are excited about what this investment will do for students, for the college and for our communities.”

DSM Dyneema’s Greenville facility recently received the Pitt County Industry of the Year award for 2014-15 by the Pitt County Development Commission. DSM Dyneema is the inventor and manufacturer of Ultra High Molecular Weight PolyEthylene (UHMwPE) fiber branded as Dyneema.