WMU News

Ford Motor Co. donates Mustang to engineering college

March 28, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Ford Motor Co. increased the horsepower and high-tech teaching tools available to educate young Bronco engineers this week with its donation of a 2003 Mustang to Western Michigan University's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

"The donation of this vehicle is a start in our investment in Western Michigan University and its engineering students, " says Frank Ligon, director of Vehicle Service and Programs in the Customer Service Division of Ford Motor Co. "In addition to donating this new Mustang to the school, Ford is establishing internships for WMU students and providing the school with vehicle service information and testing equipment to further enhance the educational experience about our products and technology."

The metallic grey coupe, which was donated by the company through its Kalamazoo dealer, Don Seelye Ford, will be used for research and laboratory work and will be made available for the college's Senior Design Projects, a capstone feature of WMU engineering programs, which requires graduating seniors to undertake original research in their areas of focus.

"We're delighted at Ford's commitment to the growing relationship our faculty and students enjoy with the company," says Dr. Michael Atkins, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "Not only does this vehicle represent the technology our graduates can expect to work with, it's also a wonderful motivational tool that will help the Ford Service Research group support and connect with students in our automotive program."

Ford's Ligon, a 1972 graduate of the University's Automotive Engineering Technology Program, says his undergraduate studies at WMU equipped him well for success in today's consumer- and technology-driven automotive business. Since becoming Ford's Vehicle Service and Programs director, he has worked to re-establish a relationship with WMU to ensure Ford technology is part of the WMU curriculum.

"We need to ensure that our relationship with the University is maintained to help produce the future leaders in an area like mine," says Ligon, noting that several other WMU engineering alumni play leadership roles in Ford's Customer Service Division.

Last summer, WMU students began working as interns in Ligon's division. Graduating senior David Knapp of Syracuse, N.Y., completed an internship there in 2002 and will go to work for Ford full time following his April graduation.

Two more WMU students, Mark Holbrook of Brighton, Mich., and Aaron Koerth of Green Bay, Wis., will take on internships this summer. All three students are in the automotive option of WMU's Engineering Technology Program.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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