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Wednesday, May 30, 2001

"New Engineering Endowment for the Henson School"†

SALISBURY, MD -- "Salisbury State University and K&L Microwave, Inc., Salisbury, a pioneering company on the Lower Shore, today announced a new program designed to help combat the engineering shortage which threatens the industry.

A new $205,000 engineering endowment ($150,000 from K&L Microwave; $55,000 from the State of Maryland’s Private Donor Incentive Program) will provide scholarships and other enticements to attract talented engineering students.

K & L Endowment Picture"K&L Microwave, Inc. has long been a valued partner to Salisbury State University, in particular to the Henson School of Science and Technology," said University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach. "K&L has now embraced corporate philanthropy in a new way. This generous gift will benefit budding engineers for generations to come."

"We've been selling engineers all over the world on the quality of life on the Eastern Shore"  said Lou

Abbagnaro, president of K&L Microwave, Inc. "But those who live here already know that. What they don't know is that, just down the street at K&L, there's a Fortune 400 company that is in the forefront of microwave technology development.

"We'd rather educate locally so they'll work locally"  he added. "Then everybody wins."

The endowment provides funds that will support a full scholarship ($10,000 a year renewable for four years including tuition, fees, room and board) for an engineering student, a mentoring relationship linking the scholar with professionals at K&L, and resources to maintain state-of-the-art instrumentation in the engineering and physics laboratory in SSU's new science building.

The University will commemorate this gift by naming the new engineering and physics learning laboratory The K&L Microwave, Inc. Engineering Laboratory.

SSU is the only institution in the region that offers both access to engineering degrees as well as a long-established physics degree. In electrical engineering, Salisbury State is part of a statewide collaborative program with the University of Maryland College Park's prestigious Clark School of Engineering. The microelectronics track of the physics degree, with its emphasis on electronics and computer hardware and software, is also tailored to meet the burgeoning needs of the microwave industry.

"The growth of the industry in Wicomico County has outstripped the engineering workforce," said Dr. Tom Jones, dean of the Henson School of Science and Technology.

"Its 1,500 employees make up 23 percent of the manufacturing base in Wicomico County," added Dave Ryan, director of Salisbury-Wicomico County Economic Development. "The microwave industry is clearly the fastest growing industrial sector."

K&L has intensified its search for graduates to fulfill its engineering needs, scouting throughout the United States and in many foreign countries.

Since its inception in 1971, K&L has been a pioneer in the field. With many government contracts in the '70s and '80s to supply wireless communications for the Defense Department, the company grew at lightning speed. The early '90s brought downsizing for all defense industries, but K&L expanded into commercial markets. The explosive demand for cell phones and more diversified communications products marked another successful turning point.


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