The University of Maine has received a $1 million gift to go toward a new engineering center that will include space for mechanical engineering technology and manufacturing skills.

The gift, from aerospace company Pratt & Whitney, is being designated for the construction of a machine tool suite in the E. James and Eileen P. Ferland Engineering and Design Center, a roughly $75 million engineering center in Orono the university is hoping to break ground on in 2020.

The suite will feature open work space, computer-controlled milling machines and lathes, a tool crib, applied research lab and a computer-aided manufacturing classroom, the university said in a news release Friday.

“This gift will allow our mechanical engineering technology students to gain the hands-on experience that they need to be effective from day one in their careers,” said Dean of the College of Engineering Dana Humphrey in the release.

“It is so appropriate that Pratt & Whitney named this space since they hire so many of our engineering graduates. I am deeply grateful for the strong and long-standing relationship between UMaine engineering and Pratt and Whitney.”

The Ferland engineering center is currently the highest capital priority for the university’s Vision for Tomorrow Campaign. Over $67 million has been raised to date of the estimated cost of around $75 million.

Connecticut-based Pratt & Whitney also gave the engineering department a $100,000 gift in 2015 for scholarships and equipment for the university’s mechanical engineering technology program.

University President Joan Ferrini-Mundy said in the release the university has a 99 percent placement rate for engineering graduates in careers or graduate school and the gift will help further career readiness.

“This gift moves our project forward, and supports our goals of fostering learner success and bringing research into the classroom,” she said. “We are deeply appreciative of Pratt & Whitney’s vision and support of the future of engineering education in Maine.”

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