Boeing invests $5 million for new Voiland student success center

Boeing Company, WSU celebrate partnership at Thursday event



The Boeing Company and WSU held an announcement event in the Compton Union Building’s senior ballroom, Oct. 27.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

WSU and the Boeing Company announced a new investment of $5 million that will go toward a new student center for engineering students. To celebrate, they held an announcement event in the Compton Union Building’s senior ballroom on Thursday. 

It is another drop in the pan of the investments that Boeing has made towards the university. In total, it has invested over $30 million, WSU President Kirk Schulz said. 

“Philanthropic partnerships are part of what we want to do as an institution going forward,” Schulz said. 

The announcement follows Boeing’s report of a $3.3 billion net loss in its third quarter revenue on Wednesday. However, Alaska Airlines will purchase 52 Boeing airplanes to help bolster the company, according to a Seattle Times article.

For WSU, Boeing’s $5 million investment will establish a Boeing Center for Student Success on the entirety of one of the floors of WSU’s Schweitzer Engineering Hall, according to a WSU Insider news release. It is set to break ground in 2024. 

Mary Rezac, dean of Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, said the student center will include tutoring, mentoring, advising and other student support programs.  

“This gift ensures the learning and research environments on campus meets the needs of our students,” Rezac said. 

WSU and Boeing have been connected for 116 years, but they have only been official partners for just under 60. However, it is still one of the most important relationships that WSU has. It is also the blueprint that WSU wants to follow going forward, Schulz said. 

One of the guest speakers at the announcement event was Bill McSherry, the vice president of state and local government operations for Boeing. McSherry discussed the importance of the relationship his company has with the university as well as why it has been so successful. 

“For us, engineering excellence and education are core values of our company, they are certainly values that we share with Washington State University,” McSherry said. “We are proud to partner with this campus, honestly I can think of no better story to illustrate the benefit of higher education investment in this state than our partnership.” 

Another guest speaker was former Coug Craig Bomben, vice president of flight operations and chief test pilot at Boeing and executive focal for WSU. 

Bomben is responsible for pitching financial support for the university to his higher-ups — something he said becomes pretty easy. 

“For me, when I look at what the university is doing and I have to go justify funding, I have good stories I can take forward, and I can prove the money that Boeing is investing is money well spent,” Bomben said.