February 29, 2016

Wayne State University receives nearly $1.4 million from DTE Energy Foundation to improve retention and graduation rates

Gift provides scholarships for business students and support for engineering and Hispanic students

DETROIT – Wayne State University has received three grants totaling nearly $1.4 million from the DTE Energy Foundation to support programs and scholarships designed to improve retention and graduation rates. The grants are part of the foundation’s efforts to power the Michigan economy by ensuring graduates have the skills and talents to achieve career success in the state.

To recognize the generosity of the DTE Energy Foundation, Wayne State University will host a celebration of the gift at the Marvin I. Danto Engineering Development Center from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, March 3. A program beginning at 10:30 a.m will feature speakers that will include Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson, DTE Energy President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Kurmas, and several students.

The $1.4 million grant will be awarded as follows:

  • $1.2 million to the College of Engineering to support the DTE Energy Foundation Eos Program for Student Success, a pilot program for all aspiring engineers. (Eos is the Greek goddess of the dawn.)
  •  $100,000 to the Center for Latino/a  and Latin American Studies’ Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) to help incoming first-generation college students succeed in core classes and smoothly transition to college-level academics.
  • $48,000 to Wayne State’s Mike Ilitch School of Business for scholarships that will alleviate tuition costs and help students stay in school until graduation.

“Our partnership with the DTE Energy Foundation supports Wayne State’s mission of providing students with access and opportunity,” Wilson said. “Through these three initiatives, we will continue to help students reach their potential by breaking down financial and academic barriers on the path to graduation.”

The DTE Energy Foundation has a long history of supporting programs at Wayne State, including $500,000 to renovate College of Engineering teaching labs that provide students with hands-on, technical learning experiences. Scholarships and grants in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are a priority for DTE because the STEM fields are integral to Michigan’s economic progress. In 2015 alone, the foundation invested nearly $1.2 million in STEM grants to community colleges and universities across Michigan.

“For the past 38 years, DTE Energy has been a proud supporter of student success at Wayne State University. We are pleased to provide tools that help students build bright futures for themselves and their communities,” said Kurmas, a two-time College of Engineering alumnus. “Assisting students today benefits Michigan’s workforce and all of our communities tomorrow.”

Funding for the DTE Energy Foundation Eos Program for Student Success will establish an academic and financial assistance program for first- and second-year engineering students to help build an academic support network, promoting success through a difficult phase of college.  

“In partnership with the DTE Energy Foundation, this pilot program will benefit students through hands-on, real-world learning experiences and extensive academic support from instructors and peer mentors,” said Farshad Fotouhi, dean of the College of Engineering. “As a result, students will gain a broad skill set that will assist them through college and into their careers.”

Additionally, the DTE Energy Foundation has awarded a four-year grant to the Summer Enrichment Program in the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies, which provides academic support to incoming Latino/a college students, including first-generation and low-income students. The program helps them excel in math and English courses, which tend to be the most difficult for underclassmen.

“The Summer Enrichment Program is about helping first-generation and underrepresented students realize their higher education dreams,” said Jorge Chinea, director of the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies. “Thanks to the DTE Energy Foundation, we have a reliable multi-year investment to continue that mission.”

Funding from the DTE Energy Foundation also will support the Mike Ilitch School of Business, creating scholarships for students who require assistance paying for classes and reaching graduation. The investment will help dedicated students overcome the financial burdens associated with higher education.

“Loan debt is a concern for many students, affecting their ability to stay enrolled and earn a degree,” said Robert Forsythe, dean of the Mike Ilitch School of Business. “This funding will help us make sure that deserving students receive the support they need to finish school.”

The grants from the DTE Energy Foundation are part of Wayne State University’s $750 million Pivotal Moments fundraising campaign, which had its public launch in October 2014.

About the DTE Energy Foundation

The DTE Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy, continuing the legacy of community support and involvement of its electric and natural gas utilities, which serve 2.1 million electric customers in Southeast Michigan and 1.2 million natural gas customers in Michigan. In 2015, the DTE Energy Foundation provided $15 million in grant support to nonprofits throughout the company’s service territories. As one of Michigan's leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. http://www.dteenergy.com/foundation.

About Wayne State University

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 380 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students.


Matt Lockwood
Phone: 313-577-9098
Email: mlockwood@wayne.edu