A rendering of Delta College's proposed Midland campus.

Dow, University of Michigan, Delta College Collaborate to Create New Innovation and Education Hub in the Great Lakes Bay Region

Sara Cambensy

MIDLAND, Mich. – June 21, 2018 – The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), the University of Michigan (U-M) and Delta College (Delta) are collaborating to develop an interdisciplinary innovation and education hub to inspire the workforce of tomorrow and create sustainable pathways that will have a positive impact on the environment and society.

“We are bringing together U-M’s recognized leadership in higher education in sustainability, technology and innovation with Delta’s regional expertise and teaching excellence – and uniting these education innovators with Dow’s ambition to be the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world,” said Jim Fitterling, CEO-elect of Dow. “This collaboration will empower teachers and students to develop sustainable solutions to address local, regional and global challenges, while cultivating a robust manufacturing workforce pipeline – efforts that build on our commitment to the Great Lakes Bay Region.”

The education hub will accelerate Dow’s and Delta’s focus on building the workforce of tomorrow and innovating for sustainable solutions in the Great Lakes Bay Region through the promotion of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education while also supporting creative and targeted solutions to address many of the community’s complex needs. It will be enabled by a grant of $4 million from The Dow Chemical Company Foundation and a grant of $2 million from The Dow Corning Foundation, both over a three-year period, toward the construction of a new Delta campus building in downtown Midland.

The newly constructed facility will include science and computer labs, classrooms, advanced educational and training technology, special use training rooms, multi-purpose rooms and labs, student services and administrative space. The facility’s enrollment is expected to reach 700 students at the new Delta Midland Center. With a construction timeline estimated to take 12-18 months, Delta College is aiming to break ground by fall 2019.

Additionally, Dow and U-M announced the inception of the Andrew N. Liveris Innovation Institute, a collaboration to provide Midland area teachers with an immersive learning environment of focused programming in the areas of advanced manufacturing, sustainable innovation and global citizenship. The Dow Chemical Company Foundation will provide funding in the amount of $1.5 million to U-M over a three-year period toward staffing and programming in support of the Institute’s mission. The Andrew N. Liveris Innovation Institute, named to honor the legacy of Dow’s Chief Executive Officer upon his retirement, will be located on the first floor of the new Delta Midland Center.

“Delta College is extremely grateful to The Dow Chemical Company for its support of this facility. The combined $6 million total gift is the largest ever made from the private sector to Delta and will truly make a difference to the economic growth of our area and in the lives of local citizens,” said Dr. Jean Goodnow, Delta College President. “The new Delta College Midland Center, home of the Andrew N. Liveris Innovation Institute, will enhance Delta’s long-standing ability to offer area residents opportunities for career and transfer education, using the latest technology and teaching strategies. Graduates will be prepared to enter the workforce or take the next step as they transfer to a partner university.”

“The U-M School of Education is eager to bring its expertise in curriculum design, program evaluation, and professional development to this promising partnership. Our Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER) specializes in these collaborations, and I anticipate exciting outcomes from this work. Dow’s investment in local teachers is a smart way to leverage a powerful community of professionals to further the company’s STEM, manufacturing, and sustainability commitment,” said Elizabeth Birr Moje, Dean of the School of Education; George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor of Education; and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor.

“I am honored to continue my involvement in the community and in the advancement of the industry through the Andrew N. Liveris Innovation Institute. I have long been a strong advocate for the criticality of innovation in manufacturing to create social and economic impact, and I look forward to engaging with the Institute’s strategy development, as well as serving as an ongoing instructor and counselor to pass along the many learnings and experiences I have collected as a collaborator in our industry and as a champion of sustainability, innovation, manufacturing and citizenship,” said Andrew N. Liveris, chairman and CEO of Dow and director and former executive chairman, DowDuPont.

As part of the Innovation Institute, Dow and U-M will also create Dow Innovation Fellows, a program designed to develop robust, applicable, and educational experiences for Midland area teachers and high school students. Dow will share its expertise in manufacturing and sustainability and provide access to cutting edge manufacturing techniques. U-M’s CEDER, will provide access to expertise on education topics including curricular and instructional design and professional support for research-based teaching and learning. Dow Innovation Fellows builds upon the long-term and successful Dow Sustainability Fellows Program, an academic program established through a partnership between Dow and U-M for the preparation of future leaders to make a positive difference in organizations worldwide.