UNC Asheville Mechatronics Program Receives $400,000 Grant from Duke Energy


UNC Asheville will expand its Mechatronics Program this year, thanks in part to a $400,000 grant from Duke Energy, which will fund new equipment for a design and development studio that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation. The mechatronics program, offered jointly with NC State University, teaches precision computer control over mechanical and electrical systems.

“Our mechatronics engineering students have adaptability, communication skills and a strong sense of the big picture because, here at UNC Asheville, they learn cutting-edge high-tech skills in the context of a liberal arts curriculum,” said UNC Asheville Chancellor Mary K. Grant. “Thank you to Duke Energy for supporting our mechatronics engineering students by helping provide the tools they need to lead the next generation of high-tech innovators serving our community and state.”

The joint UNC Asheville and NC State Mechatronics Program has more than doubled its enrollment in the past two years. With this grant and other additional support, it is expected that the program will grow to graduate more than 50 students each year in the coming decade. Mechatronics graduates are well-qualified and in high demand by employers.  In 2014, seven mechatronics graduates took jobs at TMEIC of Roanoke, Virginia; many other recent graduates are employed at Eaton Corp., AvL Technologies and other firms in the region.

“UNC Asheville is committed to equipping its students with the skills needed to compete in emerging sectors of today’s economy,” said Mike Hughes, Duke Energy’s vice president of community relations for North Carolina. “We’re excited to make this important investment in Western North Carolina and to work with the university to serve the needs of the rapidly growing high-tech engineering sector.”

About Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs vital to the health of our communities. Annually, the Foundation funds more than $25 million in charitable grants, with a focus on education, environment, economic and workforce development and community impact. Duke Energy has long been committed to supporting the communities where its customers and employees live and work, and will continue to build on this legacy.

UNC Asheville’s Joint Engineering Program in Mechatronics

UNC Asheville’s joint engineering degree program in mechatronics with NC State offers a competitive edge – combining a rigorous engineering education from one of the nation’s best land grant universities and a strong liberal arts foundation from one of the nation’s top public liberal arts universities. As the quintessential prototyping discipline, mechatronics encompasses the multidisciplinary study of mechanical, electrical, computer, control and telecommunications engineering. The entrepreneurial program hosts an Industrial Advisory Board of area manufacturers and incorporates a hands-on curriculum with an innovative workshop environment, internships and professional experience.