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Board of Trustees announces record $278M Siemens software donation for mechatronics program


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Update at 4:52 p.m. on June 18, 2018: Sidelines originally reported that the grant amount was $287 million. The correct amount is $278 million.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Oppmann

The MTSU Board of Trustees met on Tuesday for their quarterly meeting, where they announced that MTSU’s mechatronics program will be receiving a $278 million software donation from the German automations company Siemens AG.

MTSU President Sidney McPhee said that this donation was the largest in-kind gift in the university’s history.

“Students in our engineering technology and mechatronics programs will have the most advanced software for computer-aided design, modeling and systems simulation,” McPhee said.

McPhee acknowledged two MTSU alumni, Siemens Senior Service Account Executive Judith Bevels and state Sen. Bill Ketron for their role in helping the university obtain this gift.

“MTSU is among a very elite group of universities to receive this award,” Bevels said. “We also have awarded grants to global universities as well from Bulgaria (and) Russia (to) China.”

Bevels also said that Siemens would be a beneficiary of this investment. She explained that a workforce with better skill sets in mechatronics would result in an increased amount of qualified people that companies like Siemens could hire.

“The manufacturing climate in Tennessee, coupled with the need for highly skilled employees, is a huge factor, as Siemens is highly committed to educating a global workforce in digitalization and recognizes the incredible need in this area,” Bevels said.

During the meeting, the trustees approved a 2.88 percent increase in tuition and fees for students beginning in the fall 2018 semester. The increase is within the range set by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and next goes to the THEC for final review.

A 1.5 percent pay increase for employees and a plan to adjust salaries based on market were also discussed.

Former Student Government Association senator and recent MTSU graduate Peyton Tracy was also welcomed as the new student trustee. He will be replacing  Lindsey Weaver, who is now the assistant director of student leadership and engagement at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

“I want to do my best for this school,” Tracy said to trustees. “I went to Central Magnet School my freshman year in high school, and their daily mantra is ‘always my best’ … So I want to live by that through this opportunity that I’ve been given by President McPhee and the Student Government Association, and I’m always going to do my best.”

To contact news Editor Caleb Revill, email

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