Jeffrey Immelt, CEO and chairman for General Electric, visited Penn State last Friday to show his support to Penn State.
He started his visit by presenting a $400,000 check to Penn State President Rodney Erickson, which was dedicated toward promoting scholarship and research at Penn State.
The money will be used to create three scholarships for the College of Engineering, the Smeal College of Business and the College of Information Sciences.
The rest of the funds will be directed toward sponsored research in the College of Engineering, according to a statement released by Errol Cockfield, vice president of crisis and issues at Edelman.
After presenting the check to Erickson, Immelt gave a talk moderated by Charles H. Whiteman, dean of the Smeal College of Business.
When Immelt was asked why he decided to visit Penn State, he said it was because of the incredible relationship that GE carries with Penn State, and to say thanks for all of the contributions Penn State has made to GE.
Immelt spoke directly to Penn State students and alumni by commenting on the integrity of the Penn State community.
The culture at Penn State works really well with the culture at GE, and one of the company’s goals is for students to be a part of GE, Immelt said.
The talk also focused on the prospects of business in the future.
“We sit in a time of great uncertainty, but I am very optimistic about our ability to compete. I am optimistic about the future,” Immelt said.
After the talk, Immelt was given a tour of the newly built Millennium Science Complex by Robert Cornwall, managing director of the Materials Research Institute at Penn State.
The Millennium Science Complex works to bridge together materials and life sciences research.
Immelt got to see the labs and projects that are currently being worked on in the building.
“I think Immelt was certainly impressed with the research capabilities at Penn State,” said Cornwall.
Immelt’s visit was important to Penn State, because it shows that large companies are still interested in Penn State students.
Student Emily Zheng attended Immelt’s talk and was inspired by his visit.
“We look up to him, not because he’s actually larger than life, but because of his imperfections. He’s learned to embrace them and capitalize upon them,” Zheng (sophomore-economics and finance) said. “A truly great leader of our time, he’ll set the tone for others to follow.”