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WNE Receives Gift from U.S. Tsubaki to Support Product Innovation and Entrepreneurship

SPRINGFIELD, MA (12/03/2021) Western New England University (WNE) is pleased to announce that Chicopee-based U.S. Tsubaki Automotive (USTA) has made a generous gift of $12,500 to support the University’s Colleges of Business and Engineering Product Development and Innovation (PDI) course over the next five years.

“U.S. Tsubaki is pleased to work with Western New England University to advance this important program and curriculum,” said Dan Butterfield, President of USTA. “We value innovation and seek to assist in the development of future business and engineering students. We look forward to many years of innovations with this course and Western New England University.”

Taught in the fall semester, PDI is comprised of Business and Engineering students who develop an idea at the onset of class and grow the concept into a limited, functional prototype supported by a business plan. “The PDI course is a Capstone course, which is a culmination of the core courses offered to business students,” says Sharianne Walker, Dean of the WNE College of Business. “The cross-functional teams and development of innovations are critical to developing entrepreneurial thinking that will guide our students in their future careers.”

Student teams demonstrate their project innovations at the annual PDI Showcase held the first week of December. Attending the Showcase are members from the University’s Board of Trustees and several area economic development leaders and investors. The attendees invest “Golden Bear Investment Dollars” into the innovations they believe have the most commercial potential. Some of the innovations continue as Senior Design projects, while others compete in the Grinspoon Spirit Awards and the Draper Competition. The University patents select innovations that have the most potential.

“This grant is foundational to our prototyping efforts and helps teach the students about how to innovate efficiently”, said the Dean of the WNE College of Engineering, Hossein Cheraghi. “We are pleased that U.S. Tsubaki, who is an important community business, values innovation and nurturing student talent from Western New England University and the College of Engineering.”

Founded in 1971, U.S. Tsubaki is a leading manufacturer and supplier of power transmission and motion control products, with a commitment to excellence in quality, dependability and customer service. U.S. Tsubaki Automotive designs and manufactures timing drive systems for most major Automotive manufactures. USTA has manufacturing plants in Chicopee, MA and Portland, TN and a sales office in Detroit, MI.

Western New England University (WNE) is a private, nationally ranked, comprehensive institution with a focus on preparing work-ready and world-ready graduates. Founded in 1919 in Springfield, Massachusetts as a division of Northeastern College, WNE’s 215-acre suburban campus serves more than 3,700 students, including over 2,500 full-time undergraduates. More than 47,000 alumni have earned degrees through its 90+ undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs at Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and School of Law. Students come from 39 U.S. states and territories and 23 countries. Of 45,104 living alumni, 30% remain within the region, residing in the four Western Massachusetts counties and northern Connecticut.

WNE is classified among nationally ranked universities in US News and World Report, and among the Top 100 Undergraduate Engineering programs, and in the Doctoral/Professional Universities category in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.