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Utah State University partners up with Hill Air Force Base in multiyear long education program

Posted at 4:40 PM, May 11, 2023

LOGAN, Utah — Hill Air Force Base has struck a five-year-long partnership with USU, allowing researchers on the base and military personnel to pursue degrees and certificates at the university.

The partnership, which was signed and made official at the David B. Haight Alumni Center Thursday morning, is to be made valid across the entire university and is the first formal contract between the two bodies. Though according to Dean Jagath Kaluarachchi, they have had several collaborations in the past.

"Unfortunately, for so many years, we didn't have a formal mechanism because of various logistical difficulties, legal contractual difficulties, etcetera," Kaluarachchi said. "So that shuts doors and windows for our people to work directly."

One example of the program Kaluarachchi provided was the sponsoring of senior capstone projects by Hill Air Force Base, allowing experts to identify engineering problems with the project while also allowing students to collaborate with them to solve it throughout the year.

"I know our faculty are working very closely with the Air Force during the summertime," he said.

From the perspective of Hill Air Force Base, the collaboration presents an opportunity for airmen to pursue higher education during their employment and beyond. According to Installation Commander and 75th Air Base Wing Colonel Jeffrey Holland, the work at Hill Air Force Base is uniquely suited to the engineering program at Utah State University.

"We're home to the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, which is the United States Air Force home for all their fighter aircraft for where they go for major overhauls," Colonel Holland said. "So it takes a lot of talent and a lot of different kinds of processes to think about things in a new way, and that's what the students are going to help us be able to do.

With over 2000 software engineers currently at work at the base, Holland believes the students will have access to a wealth of knowledge with ongoing software development.

"We're more likely to have airmen who maybe at the end of their time in the Air Force want to go back and get a degree and they'll choose Utah State as their home," he said.