Tuskegee University signs partnership with Environmental Protection Agency


TUSKEGEE, Alabama (April 23, 2012) —Tuskegee University has opened another door to more education and research opportunities for faculty and students via an agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. On Monday, Tuskegee University President

Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon
and Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming said the MOU
agreement will enhance the university's research
and outreach capabilities.

Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon
addresses the audience at the MOU signing
Gilbert L. Rochon signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the EPA’s Southeast Region 4. The purpose of the MOU agreement is to enhance research, teaching, outreach, career development and stewardship in environmental sciences and engineering.

Tamara Lee, Tuskegee University associate vice president for state and regional government affairs hailed the MOU as an enriching opportunity and thanked Tuskegee and government representatives for being present “to support our university’s efforts to become the flagship model of an institution in the State of Alabama that is environmentally sustainable in its infrastructure, its environmental policies and its engineering and science curriculum.”

In a signing ceremony at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Tuskegee University, Rochon detailed several of the university’s research accomplishments and upcoming projects. He said both Tuskegee and the EPA have much to offer each other and the agreement will be mutually beneficial for years to come. Rochon, who has worked as a research team leader for the EPA, said the partnership will allow the university to enhance its research goals as well as provide a pipeline of students and faculty that will engage with the EPA.

“It’s a new day that we want to take full advantage of,” Rochon said. “We are primed to step up to the plate… with our hand extended in partnership with the EPA.”

Help for the region

The objectives of the agreement include: support of pollution reduction in Alabama’s Black Belt region and collaboration in Tuskegee’s agricultural and environmental engineering sciences doctoral program. Rochon said students and faculty could work on a number of important environmental and economic issues with the EPA such as climate change, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, the effects of urban sprawl and water reclamation.

“We are looking at how cutting-edge environmental technologies can allow us to engage with our local and regional communities to enhance economic development,” Rochon said.

Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, Region 4 administrator for the EPA, was the keynote speaker and co-signer for the MOU. The daughter of a Tuskegee Airman, Keyes Fleming likened the MOU to the start of the airmen program and said it was a similar pioneering opportunity to do what seems impossible.

“If we just invest time and energy in our young people, they will surpass our wildest dreams,” she said.

Keyes Fleming highlighted several areas of Tuskegee’s part in the MOU and upcoming projects such as the university’s plan to develop a more energy-efficient campus and outreach efforts to help smaller communities secure and retain federal funding for large infrastructure projects.

“We rely on the help of academic institutions with our communication, being our eyes and ears on the ground,” Keyes Fleming said.  “It is not just about us anymore; it is about how we can help improve the lives of so many others."

Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, Region 4 administrator for the EPA.

© 2012 Tuskegee University

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