Drexel University celebrated the opening of the Lockheed Martin Launchpad, a dynamic new space on campus that serves as a hub to foster innovation and further strengthen academic-industry engagement.
The Lockheed Martin Launchpad located on the first floor of MacAlister Hall opened May 11 in an event that marked the next phase of what President John Fry described as an “ever deepening and always flourishing partnership” between Drexel and the global aerospace and security company.
Drexel and Lockheed Martin have enjoyed an enduring partnership over several decades. Drexel serves as a talent pipeline to Lockheed Martin with top-tier candidates in research, science and engineering. In turn, Lockheed Martin provides transformative co-op experiences for Drexel undergraduate and graduate students. Drexel is the No. 1 recruiting school for Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems.
“This new space will truly be a launchpad for creativity, collaboration and engagement, both formal and informal,” said Paul E. Jensen, PhD, executive vice president and Nina Henderson Provost. “Whether at a lunch-and-learn or in a class taking place in the Launchpad, students will gain priceless connections, knowledge and transferable skills.”
In considering what skills industry needs to stay competitive and how Drexel can better prepare students for the jobs of the future, that co-op program recently expanded to include a new rotational co-op that will expose students to a variety of jobs and career opportunities at the company.
Drexel and Lockheed Martin are also engaged in other initiatives involving upskilling and training Lockheed Martin employees. For example, the University offers two graduate certificate programs to cross-train Lockheed Martin engineers in hardware and software systems engineering and is exploring a third graduate certificate program in electronic warfare.
The Launchpad is also a space for Lockheed Martin employees to work in a campus setting, network with students and faculty, mentor students, host recruiting events and explore joint research opportunities.
“It’s a place where new ideas are born,” said Drexel alum Tony DeSimone, PhD, vice president of Engineering & Technology at Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems. “Lockheed Martin looks forward to working with and serving the Drexel community for years to come.”
Drexel Solutions Institute, which serves as a gateway for industry to tap into Drexel’s expertise and resources as an R1 research institution, played an instrumental role in the creation of the Launchpad and working with Lockheed Martin on its other University projects.