Success Story

New Corporate Engagement Center Welcomes Industry, Demonstrates Ingenious Power of Partnership

The new Penn State Corporate Engagement Center is a collaboration between the Office of University Development and the Office of the Vice President for Research, who combined staff from Corporate and Foundation Relations and the Office of Industrial Partnerships.

Penn State’s new Corporate Engagement Center, located in Innovation Park, welcomes industry partners as it gears up to serve as a central hub for the University’s industry engagement activities.

Whether a corporate partner seeks a research partnership, a philanthropic opportunity or exceptional Penn State student talent, the Corporate Engagement Center will help meet their needs. While the new center provides an obvious convenience for industry partners, the benefits to Penn State are also great. Benchmarking studies show that this one-stop shopping model, and the integrated relationships it enables, result in greater faculty research engagement, student engagement and career success, and increased corporate giving.

The new Penn State Corporate Engagement Center is a collaboration between the Office of University Development and the Office of the Vice President for Research, who combined staff from Corporate and Foundation Relations and the Office of Industrial Partnerships. The team is led by the new assistant vice president for corporate engagement, Melissa Erekson, who is joining Penn State with over fourteen years of experience in higher education, five of them running a corporate relations program at Tulane University.

“I’m excited to join an institution with the breadth and depth of research activity that Penn State has,” says Erekson, “that activity, combined with the phenomenal network of alumni and friends in industry, poises us for great success in strengthening relationships with our corporate partners.”

“Corporate engagement is an important aspect of our mission here at Penn State, says Jeff Fortin, Associate Vice President for Research and Director of the Office of Industrial Partnerships.  “The Invent Penn State initiative, with ‘the ingenious power of partnership’ tagline has emphasized this at the university. We can have a greater impact and solve challenges better and faster when we work together.”

The university has many examples of multi-faceted corporate relationships that provide mutual value. Lockheed Martin, for example, has a master research agreement with the university that provides faculty and students with research funding to work on real-world problems. For Lockheed, the research outcomes help them to develop new products and technologies needed in the marketplace. Together, Penn State and Lockheed benefit from the large number of Penn State students the company hires each year and their active engagement in programs.

“In the past we had multiple organizations within the university working with Lockheed, and it just wasn’t optimized,” notes Fortin. “Now, the Corporate Engagement Center team will work with Lockheed on all aspects of their engagement in addition to working with the Colleges, Institutes, and administrative units to facilitate building strong corporate partnerships.”

Dave Lieb, senior associate vice president for development, co-led the formation of the new office. “A number of universities have successfully moved in this direction,” says Lieb. “The Center will allow our teams to more effectively work with corporate partners through a single point of entry. We’re confident this restructuring will lead to the kind of collaboration and innovation that will ultimately result in much more productive relationships for Penn State and our corporate partners.”

The Corporate Engagement Center may be reached at 814.863.4038.

Additional Success Stories