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Cree donates $3.5M to SUNY Poly for scholarships, two endowed faculty chairs to support STEM education

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

Date:

Construction site work under at the Cree Mohawk Valley Fab site in Marcy. (Photo credit: April 20 Facebook post by contractor JBS Dirt, Inc.)

MARCY, N.Y. — Cree, Inc. (NASDAQ: CREE) and SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) on Monday announced that Cree will donate $3.5 million for a scholarship program and two endowed faculty chairs.

The effort seeks to “help expand the local economy and develop a pipeline of high-tech professionals.”

The initiative will lead to the establishment of the “Cree | Wolfspeed Scholarship” program and the Dr. John Edmond and Dr. John Palmour SUNY Polytechnic Institute Endowed Faculty Chairs for the “continued expansion” of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) opportunities for students at SUNY Poly.

The program is designed to educate the “next-generation, high-tech workforce by increasing student opportunities and graduation rates, as well as by providing access to funds to assist students in advancing their education,” per a Monday news release.

Cree specializes in silicon carbide technology. It is a maker of Wolfspeed-branded power and radio frequency (RF) semiconductors and lighting class LEDs (light-emitting diodes).

The $3.5 million donation is part of Cree’s “ongoing, long-term commitment to the Mohawk Valley.” The company also donated $25,000 to the SUNY Poly Foundation last November to invest in and expand in SUNY Poly’s STEM programs.

Durham, North Carolina–based Cree is building the “world’s largest” silicon carbide fabrication facility in Marcy — named the Mohawk Valley Fab — and has committed to creating more than 600 new jobs within eight years as well as providing internships for SUNY students as part of its presence.

The Cree donation includes a $2 million scholarship program over 10 years and the creation of two endowed faculty chairs through a $1.5 million fund over five years, beginning in August 2020. The scholarship support will help ensure students who come from historically underserved or marginalized communities, as well as those with significant financial need, have greater access to the educational opportunities that will equip them to excel as part of tomorrow’s high-tech workforce.