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Ford Motor Co. sponsors new KU industrial design scholarship

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

LAWRENCE — In recent years, the Center for Design Research at the University of Kansas has established itself as a unique location where students can utilize their classroom instruction to do real-world design projects for major corporate clients.

Now, one of the CDR’s longest-running corporate partners is providing the center with a new scholarship to award to an outstanding KU student.

Ford Motor Co. has presented the CDR with the Alan Mulally Leadership in Engineering Scholarship, a $10,000 scholarship to be awarded to a single engineering or industrial design student for the 2015-16 academic year. To be eligible, applicants must be a current sophomore or junior, specializing in automotive engineering or industrial design, and have a 3.5 GPA. The application deadline is March 25. Students can download full details here.

“Over the years, Ford has been a tremendous and gracious partner with the CDR through sponsored research projects, student mentoring, equipment donations and now through this scholarship,” said Greg Thomas, professor of design and director of the CDR. “This is another great example of how KU collaborates with industry in a way that benefits the university, our students and the corporate partner.”

KU is one of only five schools nationally to receive the Ford scholarship. The CDR was chosen as a scholarship recipient based on the recommendations of Ford executives who have worked with the CDR and are aware of its unique focus on automotive research and application.

“Alan’s engineering background and team approach are hallmarks of his leadership at Ford,” said Mike Schmidt, Ford director of education programs. “To honor his outstanding service to Ford, the company has established a new global scholarship program – The Alan Mulally Leadership in Engineering Scholarship – to recognize talented engineering students who will be leading the future for our industry.”

The CDR’s relationship with Ford began in 2011, when Thomas approached the company about a sponsored research project. Beginning in 2013, Ford and the CDR began collaborating on new in-car design concepts. Then, in 2014, Ford donated a new Ford Transit Connect van to the CDR’s WellCar project, which seeks to build a vehicle that will enable nurse practitioners to bring an array of patient care services to the doorsteps of rural patients.

Ford is one of many companies the CDR and its students have worked with in recent years. For example, KU students have worked on portable glucose monitors for Bayer HealthCare and on market research for Sprint.

The CDR is part of the KU School of Architecture, Design & Planning.

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