A. O. Smith and A. O. Smith Foundation continue 20 year partnership with Carroll University


Carroll University 620 x 240

Since 1996 the A. O. Smith Foundation has been a supporter of Carroll University located in the heart of Waukesha, Wis. Carroll, often called Wisconsin's pioneer college, is the oldest four-year institution of higher education in the state.  

“What makes Carroll unique is the personal touch; our students know our professors by name and vice versa,” shares Melissa Baxter, director of foundation relations at Carroll University.

In 1841, settlers living in the Wisconsin Territory community of Prairieville established the academy that five years later would become Carroll College. Carroll was chartered by the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature on Jan. 31, 1846, two years before Wisconsin became a state. In 2008, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change the institution's name from Carroll College to Carroll University.

A. O. Smith and the A. O. Smith Foundation have a long history with Carroll. Retired Chief Financial Officer Terry Murphy served on the Carroll University Board of Trustees for many years. In addition, the Foundation helped the university meet a National Science Foundation match for chemistry equipment in 1996, a pledge to support the renovation of the Todd Wehr Memorial Library in 1999, and a pledge to support the renovation of the Main Hall in 2002.  

Carroll University Scholarship StudentsAccording to Carroll’s website, www.carrollu.edu, 98 percent of students receive financial assistance. The A. O. Smith Foundation also supports Carroll students through scholarships. During the 2013-2014 school year, the Foundation supported five business students with scholarships. Beginning in the fall of 2016, the Foundation will help support a scholarship program for Carroll business and pre-engineering students.

Shortly after becoming a university, Carroll began a unique partnership with the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and UW-Platteville to provide a pre-engineering program to undergraduate students. After completing a three-year pre-engineering program at Carroll, students who are enrolled in the program have the opportunity to continue their education for an additional two years and can earn a dual degree in applied physics and engineering of their choice at UW-Milwaukee or UW-Platteville.

“In the business community, it’s our responsibility to help build and develop the students in these programs so they can leave college prepared for the real world and careers in the fields of business and engineering, which is an integral part of the A. O. Smith community,” says Melissa.  

The partnership with A. O. Smith has continued to develop over the years. Principal Engineer Janice Fitzgerald who works at A. O. Smith’s Corporate Technology Center (CTC) in Milwaukee, Wis., has been working with Carroll since the pre-engineering program was developed.  

Janice serves on the UWM Mechanical Engineering Department Industry Advisory Council. When the partnership with Carroll University was being formed, she was invited to participate in structuring the program. Janice has continued to work with Carroll and has served on their External Advisory Committee for the Applied Physics and Pre-Engineering Program since 2012.

“She has helped connect the Carroll program to A. O. Smith for tours and job shadowing while offering invaluable advice,” Melissa says about Janice’s role on the committee.  

There is a big need for engineering talent in the community and especially for female engineers. Janice notes that woman make up only 20 percent of engineering students nationwide, and that number drops to a staggering five percent who actually stay in the field within five years of graduating.  

“Growing up, girls are not getting the message about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). As a young girl, I was encouraged to pursue engineering, but to be honest, I didn’t understand what engineering was. I went to college later in life and earning a degree in engineering has dramatically changed my life. Even as a student, I realized that I wanted to help others have this opportunity, especially women,” Janice shares.  

Carroll also offers grants that provide high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to go to summer camps at the campus to get hands-on real world experience and discover what engineers do.  At the summer camp, they learn about the pre-engineering program for three weeks and also get to visit local engineering companies, in addition to meeting and interacting with professional mentors and peers. On June 15, Janice will be giving high school students from this year’s summer camp a tour of CTC and will provide them with more insight about the various roles engineers have at A. O. Smith.   

Carroll’s continued commitment to the science and engineering fields is evident by its investment in its science facilities. In early 2015, phase one of the science facilities project began with the demolition of Maxon Hall, Carroll's current science facility. The construction of a new 44,500 square-foot, state-of-the-art science building is currently underway. The new building will house interactive teaching and research laboratories for anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry and biochemistry, along with student/faculty gathering areas. It’s an approximately $24 million renovation and will welcome its first class of students in the fall of 2016.  

This is the initial phase of a three-phase project. It combines state-of-the-art teaching laboratories, research spaces and instrumentation rooms. It will transform the educational experience of every Carroll student, especially those students pursuing an education in the health and medical science fields.  

In December 2017, the Bucyrus Center for Applied Physics and Engineering will complete phase two of the project. Carroll's Lowry Hall will be replaced by a new building with dedicated space for the Applied Physics and Engineering program as well as the university’s nursing and exercise science programs.  

Carroll and UWM have also partnered to offer an integrated 3+2 bachelor's and master's degree program. Students enrolled in the program spend the first three years at Carroll and finish at UWM, earning both a bachelor's and master's degree in just five years. They can choose a Bachelor of Science from Carroll in Environmental Science or Biology and then choose a Master of Science in Freshwater Science from UWM.  

For more information about Carroll University or their degree programs visit www.carrollu.edu.