Purdue receives $10 million from Nanshan Group

September 26, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A leading aluminum company based in China is giving $10 million to Purdue University's international programs and for research, training and scholarships.

Nanshan Group Co. Ltd., which is the parent company of the Shandong Nanshan Aluminum Co. firm that will be opening in Lafayette next year, will give Purdue $2 million each year for the next five years. The funds will support three areas:

* a variety of programming and activities through Purdue's Office of International Programs and its China Center;

* research, training and consulting opportunities for faculty in the School of Materials Engineering, the Krannert School of Management, and the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management;

* and scholarships for students who have graduated from Chinese high schools or are enrolled in Chinese institutions of higher learning.

The faculty research, consulting and training opportunities will be available through Nanshan Group and its Yantai Nanshan University.

"We are appreciative of Nanshan's support and excited about the possibilities for our faculty to participate in research and consulting opportunities with a leading global corporation and the quickly growing Yantai Nanshan University," Purdue President France A. Córdova said. "Yantai Nanshan and Purdue universities are rooted in land-grant missions - sharing educational opportunities with their communities. This is a great example of how research universities can engage with international businesses and educators to pursue research, learning and engagement."

Nanshan Group is a large national, private-shareholding company ranked in China's top 500 enterprises. It is China's second largest aluminum company and also is a leader in textiles. Nanshan also is known for its industries in energy, construction materials, tourism, education, real estate and commerce. In February, Lijun Du, president of Nanshan America Co and a Purdue alumnus, announced plans to build a $100 million, 435,000-square-foot aluminum extrusion facility and office in Lafayette. Nanshan America Advanced Aluminum Technologies will be located just a few miles from campus and is scheduled to open in early 2012 and employ 150 people in two years.

"We are pleased with this partnership because of the brand-name recognition that Purdue has in China and around the world," said Song Jianbo, chairman of Nanshan. "These collaborations and interactions also will engage our company in the local and campus communities, which we are looking forward to."

Purdue faculty and researchers from materials engineering, management and tourism will work with the Nanshan Group and the university on topics related to their individual research interests.

"The consulting opportunities will be a real benefit for Purdue faculty and also could help them as they adapt their research for commercialization," said Michael Brzezinski, dean of international programs. "Purdue also will contribute to strengthening the Yantai Nanshan University, which was one of the first non-governmental universities in China."

Yantai Nanshan University is located in Longkou, Yantai, in the Shandong Province, and it has a second campus in Donghai. The university, which was established in 1991, offers vocational and undergraduate degrees to nearly 20,000 students. Its academic focus includes engineering, management and tourism and it has mechanical engineering and electronic engineering training centers and training hotels.

"This university is encouraging more students to pursue science and education as we continue to build a first-class university," said Fred Wu, director in the division for higher education at Nanshan Group. "We've accomplished so much in 20 years, and we look forward to Purdue's involvement to help us grow even more. This is just the beginning of an incredible relationship that we see evolving and leading to more opportunities."

Specific details and project proposals are still being confirmed, but Kevin Trumble, Purdue professor of materials engineering and director of the Purdue Center for Metal Casting Research, said faculty in his area will focus on materials education and research projects.

"They are China's second largest aluminum producer, and aluminum processing - how the materials are made - is one area that our department specializes in through our Center for Metal Casting Research," Trumble said. "The knowledge we gain through consulting or research could really improve the industry, and the exposure that students in our department glean from these projects will help position them to do well in their careers."

Purdue also will have access to international research data, material for business issues case studies and educational development that will serve as a living laboratory for scholars, said Chuck Johnson, director of master's and executive programs at the Krannert School of Management.

"This is a company with great vision, and Krannert looks forward to engaging our management and manufacturing expertise," Johnson said. "Faculty will have access to issues facing a global corporation as they expand their outreach - this is a global example right in our back yard. Purdue students will benefit by learning about Nanshan's strategy and business challenges, and there also will be potential student teams and projects with faculty members who are consulting."

Purdue faculty from management, materials engineering and tourism also will be leading training programs for Nanshan employees and officials, as well as curriculum development for materials engineering and a new international business school at Yantai Nanshan University.

"Our faculty and students will benefit from interacting with both Nanshan University and the group's portfolio of tourism enterprises," said Liping Cai, professor and tourism center director in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and associate dean in the College of Health and Human Sciences. "Purdue's capability in tourism research and training will serve well in the partnership."

Some of the funds from Nanshan also will be designated for scholarships for students from China to study materials engineering or management at Purdue.

"International students do not receive institutional financial aid like American students do, and it's not often that these students have an opportunity for such financial support," Brzezinski said. "This reinforces Purdue's goal to keep our campus diverse so we can offer a global experience for our domestic students."

Another part of the annual support from Nanshan will be directed toward Purdue's Office of International Programs and its China Center.

"Purdue's China Center supports the university's China initiatives through developing and nurturing long-term relationships," said Cai, the center's director. "Educators and business leaders with whom we have been working with at Nanshan are appreciative that Purdue has a center that focuses on China. As a service organization within International Programs, the center shares knowledge with the Purdue campus and community on the dynamics of fast-changing China."

International Programs also is home to International Students and Scholars, Study Abroad and Purdue's new Global Business Engagement, which is an initiative launched earlier this year to promote the university as a resource for the state to develop partnerships in China and other countries to bring business to Indiana. So far, the initiative has partnered with Greater Lafayette Commerce and Logansport-Cass County Economic Development Foundation to develop strategic plans to expand trade and investment with China to stimulate local economic development. It also has sponsored seminars for Indiana manufacturing leaders and international students' parents who represent overseas businesses. The initiative is focusing on China, but there are plans to expand to other countries. 

Writer:  Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Sources:   France A. Córdova, president@purdue.edu

                    Michael Brzezinski, 765-494-9399, mbrzezinski@purdue.edu

                    Kevin Trumble, 765-494-4114, driscol@materials.ecn.purdue.edu

                    Chuck Johnson, 765-496-3668, cjohnson@purdue.edu

                    Liping Cai, 765-494-8384, liping@purdue.edu