Energy institute gets $150K from Alaska Air

This recently produced video provides an overview of Western's new Institute for Energy Studies. By Chris Linder for WWU
Western Today staff

Western Washington University's Institute for Energy Studies is receiving a $150,000 gift of support from Alaska Airlines and $100,000 in various gifts from the Ingersoll Rand Foundation and Trane, a leading global provider of indoor comfort solutions and services and a brand of Ingersoll Rand.

Western established its multi-disciplinary Institute for Energy Studies last spring. The Institute program, the first of its kind in the country, combines science, technology, economics, business and policy and is designed to prepare students to become the leaders, managers and entrepreneurs of the new energy economy.

“The university's innovative new program will provide students a strong foundation to solve the complex challenges associated with finding energy solutions for aviation and other sectors of the economy. This program will prepare students to compete in the green economy and help position the state as a leader nationally in the next wave of economic expansion and innovation,” said Keith Loveless, executive vice president and general counsel for Alaska Airlines.

The new energy economy, from renewable power to energy efficiency, represents a tremendous economic opportunity for the state of Washington. Graduates of Western’s program will be uniquely prepared to enter the workforce as leaders, equipped with the knowledge, skills and applied expertise demanded by this dynamic and evolving sector of the national and global economy.

"We are proud to support the Institute for Energy Studies program at WWU. As a member of the founding advisory board, I have had the opportunity to provide input to the program and can say that the proposed curriculum is precisely what is needed to address our current and future energy workforce needs,” said Warren W. Michelsen, district general manager of Northwest-Hawaii for Trane.

Western now offers a minor in Energy Studies, with the first Western students graduating with the minor during 2013 Spring Commencement. The university intends to offer a bachelor’s degree in Energy Studies within the next two years.

"The support of the private sector is instrumental to our success. Interest in our program is intense and we are thrilled to partner with leading corporate partners such as Alaska Airlines and the Ingersoll Rand Foundation to bring the highest level of energy education to our wonderful students,” said Andy Bunn, associate professor of Environmental Sciences at Western and director of the Institute for Energy Studies.

Three nationally recognized colleges at Western ­– the College of Business and Economics; Huxley College of the Environment; and the College of Sciences and Technology – have collaborated to produce the program that harnesses expertise from throughout the campus.  The program receives both public funding and support from private sources. The vision is a publicly supported and privately enhanced program that provides the highest possible return on the public's investment.

The program’s advisory board includes numerous distinguished leaders in the field, many of whom have been hands-on in helping to guide development of the Institute program.

Other major support for the Institute for Energy Studies program has come from Puget Sound Energy, Snohomish County PUD, Cascadia Capital and from individual board members.

The WWU Foundation is currently seeking donors who are interested in funding named endowments to support the program.  Interested donors should please contact Manca Valum, director of Development for the program, at

About Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together with its partner regional airlines, serves 95 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines has ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers" in the J.D. Power and Associates North America Airline Satisfaction StudySM for six consecutive years from 2008 to 2013. For reservations, visit For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines Newsroom at

About Ingersoll Rand and Trane

Ingersoll Rand (NYSE:IR) advances the quality of life by creating and sustaining safe, comfortable and efficient environments. Our people and our family of brands—including Club Car®, Ingersoll Rand®, Schlage® ,Thermo King® and Trane® —work together to enhance the quality and comfort of air in homes and buildings; transport and protect food and perishables; secure homes and commercial properties; and increase industrial productivity and efficiency. Trane solutions optimize indoor environments with a broad portfolio of energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, building and contracting services, parts support and advanced control. Ingersoll Rand is a $14 billion global business committed to a world of sustainable progress and enduring results. For more information, visit or

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