March 2012

SCU Facebook Viewing Party March 14 is Part of Obama's "Stay With It" Campaign to Boost U.S. Engineering Students

Montel Williams, Intel's Otellini, join Google and Facebook execs to celebrate and motivate engineering students on Obama’s “National Day of Engineering”

SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 8, 2102 — As part of a nationwide effort to halt the decline in qualified U.S. engineering students, Santa Clara University is joining with schools across the nation in viewing a motivational FacebookLIVE event from noon to 1 p.m. March 14.

At SCU, an expected 130 attendees will watch the FacebookLIVE event featuring celebrity (and engineer) Montel Williams, Intel CEO Paul Otellini, and Charles Bolden of NASA, among other technology company executives. In partnership with MTV, those speakers will be sharing personal stories, music videos, and motivational messages from President Obama and others to drive home a message to “stay with it” when it comes to pursuing an engineering degree. 

SCU students will gather for the event from noon to 1 p.m. March 14, at the Benson Memorial Center’s Bronco room on SCU’s campus, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA. Students who attend will receive coupons for $10 worth of lunch at Benson, and will be entered for a drawing to win an Asus Zenbook 13-inch Ultrabook.

The campaign is part of the effort by President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to address the nation’s shortage of engineers. In June 2011, Obama announced an initiative to train an additional 10,000 engineering graduates each year, to boost U. S. competitiveness and innovation.

Nationwide, only 14 percent of all undergraduate students are enrolled in science, technology, engineering or math program, and there is a 40 percent attrition rate after the first year for students in those disciplines. Obama has said he believes there’s “an incredible diversity of talent out there waiting to be tapped.”

To tackle the problem, the Council designated March 14 “National Day of Engineering,” with events planned across the country and a new community of resources being unveiled for students pursuing an engineering degree.

A new Facebook page,, has been created, featuring messages of encouragement to engineering students from CEOs of companies like IBM, DuPont, Walmart, and Xerox, as well as celebrities like Wil.I.Am, Will Smith and others.

Santa Clara University School of Engineering has been lauded for having a four-year graduation rate that far surpasses the national average – at about 66 percent, compared with the 22 percent of public schools nationwide or 45 percent at private institutions.

Engineering Dean Godfrey Mungal last month met with President Obama at a White House event celebrating the efforts of 40 top engineering deans who are succeeding in retaining and graduating high-caliber engineering students.