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$2.5m gift to support Pima’s Center of Excellence in Applied Technology

Tucson, AZ – The Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation is giving $2.5 million to Pima Community College Foundation to advance the College's growing presence as the center of economic recovery and growth in the region. The announcement came Wednesday morning in front of the College's nearly completed Automotive Technology and Innovation Center at the Pima's Downtown Campus. The building is scheduled to open in early 2021.

The Automotive Technology and Innovation Center is the first building in the Center of Excellence in Applied Technology being developed on the campus. Ground breaking on a state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Center on the campus is scheduled for later in 2021. To support employer demand for high-skilled technicians, Pima also is expanding the Aviation Technology Center at the Tucson International Airport, thanks to $15 million in state funding.

“The focus on Centers of Excellence, public-private partnerships and expanding the economic vitality of our region through high-tech training and reskilling of both new and incumbent workers is exactly what our community needs. Pima’s strategic plan has been developed thoughtfully with community partners and is being adeptly implemented by Chancellor Lambert and his team. We have confidence in the direction the College is going and its leadership,” said Sarah Smallhouse, president of the Brown Foundation.

The Brown funding will support the purchase of critical training equipment, including components of Cyber-Physical Systems that incorporate computing, networking as well as sensor and data analysis equipment. These systems are found in smart grid, autonomous automobile systems, medical monitoring, industrial control systems, robotic systems and automatic pilot avionics. The grant will allow for expansion of training partnerships such as current partnerships with Caterpillar, TuSimple, automotive dealers and others. The College also will create an Additive Manufacturing (3-D Printing) Program, which has growing implications for a wide range of industries, and a Flight, Maintenance and Repair Program for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (drone program).

“Employers want graduates who are trained in the relevant industrial technology of today and the future. This is increasingly expensive. We cannot build the same classrooms and train on the same equipment we did 10 and 20 years ago,” said Pima Chancellor Lee Lambert. “The only way the College can afford the facilities and equipment required to develop a competitive workforce is through public-private partnerships with employers, philanthropic organizations, and continued state and local support. Through collaborative effort, with everyone pulling in the same direction, the College will step up to effectively serve our community at this critical moment.”

This gift is the largest single gift received by Pima Community College Foundation, which raises money to advance the College. “We are grateful for the Brown Foundation's tremendous faith in us and hope this gift inspires others in our community to consider Pima College a good place to invest as well,” said Marcy Euler, president of Pima Community College Foundation.

Demion Clinco, Pima Governing Board Chair, said, “Pima Community College has laid out a bold vision for a vibrant future. Partners like Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation will be what brings this vision to life.”

Pima Community College Foundation

Pima Community College Centers of Excellence

Thomas R. Brown Foundations



Libby Howell, APR, Executive Director

Media, Government and Community Relations


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