Albert Scholarship Seeks to Develop Engineering Leaders

Friday, April 17, 2015

A gift from Craig and Darla Albert has established a new merit-based scholarship program to be awarded by the Honors College for the purpose of developing future engineering leaders. The first two winners of the Albert Engineering Leadership Scholars Program are now studying in The William States Lee College of Engineering.

 “I want to give to UNC Charlotte because the university was integral in shaping and molding me as a person and in my career,” said Craig Albert, “but also because I think the university is in a really good position to help others. One of the advantages of being a young urban research university is that UNC Charlotte is more nimble in its ability to shape itself to meet the needs of industry, students and the surrounding region.”

Patterned after the University’s prestigious Levine Scholars Program, the Albert Engineering Leadership Scholars Program recruits top engineering students through a shared process. The program emphasizes applied learning, campus involvement and professional development.

The first two winners of the scholarship are Henry Speaker, a mechanical engineering major from Takoma Park, Maryland, and Corin Brown, a civil engineering major from Boone, North Carolina.

“The Albert Scholarship is here to provide students with leadership experience in college, so once they graduate they’re ready to be leaders in engineering,” Speaker said. “As an out-of-state student the scholarship is definitely a big reason for my coming here. It made everything affordable. I certainly appreciate the Alberts’ generosity in establishing this scholarship.”

The rigors of engineering education also make the Albert Scholarship important to new students, Brown said. “Every degree in the engineering field is pretty study intensive, so it’s really helpful to have a scholarship to support our school instead of having to go out and make money ourselves. I really appreciate what the Alberts have done in creating this scholarship, not only me and my fellow scholar this year, but also because it will go on in future years to help even more engineers.”

After earning a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University’s Lee College of Engineering in 1985, Albert joined the manufacturing company, Westinghouse, as a project engineer. He was later appointed manager of business development for Westinghouse’s government business. In 1998, Albert accepted a position with Bechtel, a leading global, engineering, construction and project-management company and the largest engineering and construction firm in the United States. He is currently the president of Bechtel Systems and Infrastructure, the company’s government services arms and a director on the Bechtel Group Board. His wife Darla ‘83 is an alumna of UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business.

Albert, who requested the program focus on fostering leadership skills, said, “I’ve seen how important leadership is in accomplishing great things and I believe the best leaders in our country have good technical backgrounds in addition to good leadership skills. I think engineers, because of their technical background, have the potential to be the best leaders, so I want to teach engineers about leadership so they can leverage more than their own personal capability.”

Albert Scholarship covers tuition and fees, housing and meals, books, a laptop computer, summer experiences, participation in the Lee College for Engineering Leadership Academy, study abroad opportunities and a professional development stipend.