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Dominion Resources Makes $40,000 Grant in Support of VMI's CLEAR Program

In November 2011, Mr. Emmett Toms, External Affairs Manager for Dominion Virginia Power, presented VMI with $40,000 in support of VMI’s Clean Energy and Air Resources (CLEAR) Program. This gift made in the form of Dominion Resources Higher Education Partnership Grant program, was only one of 34 such grants made throughout the country.

VMI’s CLEAR Program was established to meet the growing demand for people capable of filling key professional positions in the field of clean energy and sustainable fuels production. It combines classroom instruction that gives a sound theoretical grounding in the fields related to sustainable fuels production and clean energy systems, with engaging laboratory and field work. Furthermore, this program is collaboration between VMI and Virginia Tech. Therefore, cadets have the opportunity to earn a graduate degree from Virginia Tech while conducting research at VMI.
The CLEAR program also stands out because it is interdisciplinary. Managed by three VMI faculty members—MAJ Tim O. Moore II ’97 of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MAJ Anne Aldering of the Department of Biology, and MAJ Mary Beth Pennington of the Department of English & Fine Arts—and Linsey C. Marr of Virginia Tech’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the program takes in as many approaches to the subject.

As Major Moore explains it, “For example, cadets will be working with the Civil and Environmental Engineering departments of both institutions and VMI’s Biology Department to gain an understanding of using an organic biomass to produce a high-quality bio-fuel as well as what the production of such fuels means in terms of environmental effects.”

The third aspect of the program brings in VMI’s Department of English and Fine Arts to develop cadets’ communications skills. “The gap between people working in science, engineering, and technology and the rest of society often is too wide,” said Major Moore. “The most exciting discoveries and their potential benefits might go unnoticed unless scientists, technologists, and engineers can communicate their knowledge and their enthusiasm to society as a whole.”

BG R. Wane Schneiter, Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Dean of the Faculty, thanked Dominion Resources for its grant and said, “This support is the type of public-private partnerships we hope to encourage as VMI positions itself as a premier undergraduate teaching and research institution.”