March 31, 2011

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute is pleased to announce that UTC Fire & Security has pledged $150,000 over five years to support the build-out of a new fire science research and education center for WPI's world-renowned graduate program in fire protection engineering.

Based in Farmington, Conn., UTC Fire & Security is a leading provider of fire safety and security solutions to more than one million customers worldwide and is a unit of United Technologies Corp.

"Innovation is central to UTC Fire & Security – we have more than 1,000 engineers working in 30 design centers around the world to help create safer environments. Our involvement with this new world-class fire protection laboratory will support the development of the next generation of fire protection leaders and advance the body of knowledge in the field," said Scott Buckhout, president of UTC Fire & Security’s Global Fire Products business.  "We are looking forward to the opportunities this partnership will bring to collaborate on new fire safety technologies and applications that will support our mission of protecting people and property."

WPI is home to the world's leading graduate program in fire protection engineering, where experts from a broad array of backgrounds come together to solve fire protection engineering challenges. Students in the program come from such diverse disciplines as chemical, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering, architecture, and more. WPI's fire protection engineering courses lay the groundwork for a firm understanding of the dynamics of fire: causes, prevention, and how to protect structures, vehicles, clothing, and people from fire's devastating effects.

In addition to offering the nation's first master's degree program in the field, the university was the first to provide a graduate-level program in fire protection engineering via distance learning in 1993, and it grants the world's only formal PhD program in fire protection engineering. WPI has conferred more than 350 master's and doctoral degrees in fire protection engineering and currently delivers programs to students hailing from more than 30 countries.  UTC Fire & Security, together with the other units of United Technologies Corporation, are collectively the second largest employer of WPI graduates.

 "We are most thankful for UTC Fire & Security's support of our fire protection engineering initiatives," said Kathy Ann Notarianni, professor and head of WPI's Fire Protection Engineering Department. "In this fast-evolving field, of both science and practice, our growing partnership with UTC Fire & Security will help us push the boundaries of education and research to advance fire safety in all its facets."

WPI's new fire protection engineering facility will be housed in a new building at Gateway Park in Worcester . Construction will begin in late April, and the facility is expected to open in late 2012. With their donation, UTC Fire & Security joins Honeywell Life Safety,  Chicago-based Rolf Jensen & Associates (RJA) and AON Fire Protection Engineering in providing important funding to help build and equip WPI's new fire protection engineering lab.