MTSU welcomes Gov. Bill Lee to campus for celebration of MTSU’s ready-to-work degrees

Photo courtesy of MTSU News 

MTSU rolled out the blue carpet to welcome Gov. Bill Lee to celebrate MTSU’s ready-to-work programs and the partnership with Siemens Digital Industries Software on Wednesday in the Miller Education Center.

Also in attendance were MTSU Board of Trustees members, community members, local politicians and a group of MTSU mechatronics students.

The celebration started with MTSU President Sidney McPhee thanking the governor for coming and thanking Siemens, a partner with the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, for donating software to MTSU’s mechatronics program. The software, called Digital Twin, is a program that allows users to digitally plot out designs and the whole production process and is used by companies around the world.

McPhee then introduced Lee, who was met with a standing ovation.

Lee thanked the board members in attendance for being so dedicated to the university and said that the ready-to-work program represents what he believes education should be.

“We must create an education system that is aligned with the needs of the job creators of today and tomorrow and that is exactly what is happening right here … an engagement with industry and our education system,” Lee said.

Lee explained that MTSU represents what he wants to make happen across Tennessee in education and that strong education can lead to bringing more jobs into the area.

“If we will invest in and elevate the conversation around what’s happening right here at MTSU, what’s happening right here, the partners ships with Siemens (and) with corporations in the region, if we will focus on this, then we can go to job creators and we can say, ‘Tennessee is where you want to be.’” Lee said.

Ready-to-work programs are majors that have been tailored to focus on the needs of those industries. This type of hands-on and specific learning experience aims to give students a leg up when going into the workforce.

Along with mechatronics, MTSU’s ready-to-work programs include criminal justice, concrete and construction management and the new tourism and hospitality management program, which will start in the fall semester.

McPhee said the university was fortunate to have Lee on campus.

“You can imagine what his (Lee) schedule is like, particularly being in the office just a couple of months, but I think it really shows the regard that he has for our university and the quality of the programs and how those programs are aligned with his vision for the state. We’re thrilled,” McPhee said.

McPhee also said that celebrating this partnership makes him excited for future partnerships and programs at MTSU.

“We’re really good at this business industry (and) education partnership … It really gives me a great hope and excitement as we move forward,” McPhee said. “For example, next year we’ll be starting a hospitality management program. All the hotels and businesses in that area have just garnered our interests and have been very supportive. So, we have been strategic, we don’t just develop programs for the sake of developing degree programs. We look at what the needs of the state and how they can support it and how our students can get jobs when they graduate. So, we’re excited about the future.”

To contact News Editor Angele Latham, email

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