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Eastman Credit Union gives $100K to complete Milligan engineering ‘Maker Space Lab’

ECU donation to Milligan engineering

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (December 7, 2017)— A gift from Eastman Credit Union will help Milligan College’s engineering program finish outfitting its Maker Space Lab, which is a lab designed to allow students to dream, create and innovate with hands-on learning.

The gift was made today at ECU’s Market Corner Branch in Johnson City, Tennessee, with officials from both organizations, including Milligan President Dr. Bill Greer and ECU CEO Olan Jones, Jr. The donation will finish out and equip the Maker Space Lab, as well as underwrite additional capital and operational expenses for Milligan’s four-year engineering program. Milligan offers mechanical and electrical engineering majors in the context of the Christian liberal arts.

“We are very excited that Eastman Credit Union has expressed confidence in our engineering program with this financial support,” said Milligan President Dr. Bill Greer. “Its generous support will help spur the creativity and technical skills of a new generation of well-rounded engineers who have a heart to serve.”

Dr. Greg Harrell, director of Milligan’s engineering program, explained that the space has already been extremely popular. Favorite projects include adapting ride-on toys for special-needs children as part of Go Baby Go Appalachia, a program of local nonprofit AdaptoPlay, and creating a hydroelectric water filtration system in Buffalo Creek.

“Because of ECU’s donation, this space will be completed and outfitted with tools for students to use to complete projects throughout their engineering studies,” said Harrell, who also serves as a lead technical advisor for the U.S. Department of Energy Industrial Programs and the U.N. Industrial Development Organization. “The Maker Space Lab amplifies the core principles of Milligan engineering—training students through hands-on practice, mentored faculty involvement and servant-leadership projects.”

“ECU’s board of directors recognizes the positive impacts being made by Milligan’s students and the professional program designed by their faculty. It’s great to see opportunities like these, which allows students to graduate from local institutions prepared for internationally sought-after careers, with employers right here in Northeast Tennessee,” said Olan O. Jones, CEO and president of ECU.

In addition to hands-on projects, nearly half of the program’s inaugural freshmen class secured paid internships and co-ops this summer at locally-based corporations like Eastman, Nuclear Fuel Services and Arconic.

In addition to Harrell, engineering faculty and staff include Dr. David Hampton, professor of mechanical engineering, who taught at West Point and served fellowships at NASA; Dr. Jeff Giesey, professor of electrical engineering, a Fulbright Fellow who served as associate dean from the Russ College of Engineering and Technology at Ohio University; and Professor Hongyou Lu, program development associate for engineering and research engineer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory focusing on energy, environment and resource sustainability.

The Milligan engineering majors have been reviewed and approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Milligan also will be seeking accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Learn more about the program at

About Eastman Credit Union

ECU is the largest credit union in the state of Tennessee and one of the largest credit unions in the country with more than $4 billion in assets. ECU is a not-for-profit, financial service cooperative serving more than 200,000 members at 25 branches. Credit Union members have access to more than 55,000 free ATMs nationwide and a wide range of financial services, including free checking and free online banking.

Posted by on December 7, 2017.