For Alex '01 and Sara Rogier, giving back to their alma maters is natural.
"We've always believed in giving back to organizations that have helped us along the way," Sara said. "Obviously, our education shaped us into the people we are today." A graduate of Butler University's accounting program with a master's in human resource development from Indiana State University, Sara is a category lender of chemicals at Mead Johnson. Alex, a 2001 engineering graduate from the University of Southern Indiana, is an assistant manager in quality engineering at Toyota in Princeton, Indiana.
Even in their first years out of college, the Rogiers saw the importance of giving to their educational institutions. "When we didn't have a lot of extra money, we still gave in the $50 range to our universities' annual funds," Sara said. "As our ability to give grew, we consistently increased our donations." Alex and Sara both work for matching gift companies, meaning both Toyota and Mead Johnson match their gifts to USI.
When Alex and Sara decided they wanted to make a considerable gift toward endowing operations for USI's new Applied Engineering Center, they used Mead Johnson's matching gift program to make that gift, doubling their $2,500 contribution to $5,000.
The Applied Engineering Center will house one of USI's most innovative new programs—the Advanced Manufacturing Program. The program will provide students the opportunity to work with cutting-edge manufacturing equipment in a teaching and learning factory, enabling students to become manufacturing leaders. In addition, the $2.6 million in high-tech manufacturing and engineering equipment will allow the University to partner with local industry on a variety of different production lines.
"I have to say I'm a little envious that this program wasn't around when I attended USI!" said Alex. "This Applied Engineering Center will give USI engineering students a real leg-up when they're looking for employment after graduation." Alex was fortunate enough to intern with Toyota for three semesters while at USI, and was hired shortly after graduation. "I received on-the-job experience through that internship," Alex said. "Some other engineering students weren't as lucky, so they were lacking that real-world experience employers look for in a job candidate."
The new Applied Engineering Center will provide USI students the opportunity to learn, troubleshoot, and teach on manufacturing line simulations exactly like those they will encounter in their fields after graduation. "Having the chance to learn the robotics and work hands-on with the simulations is a huge benefit for engineering students," Alex said. "The University is looking forward, seeking ways to sustain and grow the area's future workforce, and this Applied Engineering Center will do just that."
To make the most of your gift to Campaign USI: Elevating Excellence, visit matchinggifts.com/USI to see if your employer will match your gift.