ABB, a global power supply and automation technology company, is providing NC State University with a $1.2 million gift to boost power engineering research and education.

ABB’s North American headquarters, which is located in Cary, made the donation. The parent firm is based in Switzerland.

ABB also has an office on NCSU’s Centennial Campus.

“One of our biggest challenges is finding skilled engineers who are well-trained in the technical principles of this dynamic field,” said Enrique Santacana, president and CEO of ABB Inc. and region manager of ABB in North America, in a statement. “Not only will this initiative establish a pipeline of talented people for ABB, it combines NC State’s top academic thinking and our practical business know-how for advancing this exciting and rapidly changing industry.”

The gift includes a $632,000 commitment from ABB over five years.

NCSU will use the funds to establish an endowed professorship (ABB Distinguished Professorship in Electrical Engineering), a faculty support fund, scholarships and a lecture series.

NCSU hopes to receive matching support for the professorship from the UNC Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund and the C.D. Spangler Foundation.

“NC State recognizes that advances in power engineering will help build the smart electricity grid of the future,” said Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the College of Engineering, in a statement. “This generous gift to the endowment from ABB will help attract outstanding engineering faculty and talented students to a field of great importance to our state and nation.”

In 1991, ABB became the first corporate tenant at the Centennial Campus.

Last fall, ABB said it would launch a Smart Grid Center of Excellence and expand its NCSU presence.

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