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Volkswagen Donation Helps Fuel Ferris Automotive Programs

AutomotiveStudents in Ferris State University’s automotive programs are staying on top of the latest technology thanks to one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers.

Volkswagen recently donated a new vehicle, six engines and seven transmissions to the College of Engineering Technology’s School of Automotive and Heavy Equipment, which offers three automotive majors: Automotive Engineering Technology, Automotive Management and Automotive Service Technology.

“We are grateful, because this donation is going to help us increase the level of technology we are able to teach,” said Ben Upham, an associate professor who also heads the Automotive Service Technology program. “The approximate cost of the transmissions donation is about $56,000 – they are state of the art.”

Several Ferris students have had internship opportunities with Volkswagen, and the company’s general manager of service information and tools, Laurie Brown, sits on the Automotive Management Advisory Committee at Ferris.

The 280 students enrolled in all three automotive programs will benefit from the donation, Upham said.

“Each student will be able to utilize the donations,” he said. “No matter what their specific program is, they all have to complete general automotive classes where these donated items will be available to them.”

Ferris’ School of Automotive and Heavy Equipment has been a leader in transportation education for more than 50 years. Each program is specialized and boasts faculty skilled and trained in their specific area, including alternative fuels, engineering, high performance testing, electronic controls, management, diagnostics and hydraulics.

Efforts to keep up with the industry’s latest technological advancements include ongoing faculty training paired with corporate donations. Over the years, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, General Motors and Chrysler also have made donations to the program, Upham said.

Educational opportunities include bachelor’s degrees in Automotive Engineering Technology and Automotive Management, and as associate degree in Automotive Service Technology.