SME Scholarship hopes to bridge engineering talent gap.

Press Release Summary:

SME Education Foundation announces creation of Walter E. Panse Scholarship with $270,000 gift from his estate. Available in 2011, scholarship requires applicants to be full-time North American undergraduate students studying engineering and/or technology. Preference is given to students who demonstrate leadership skills in community, academic, or professional environment. Applicants must possess overall minimum GPA of 3.0 on 4.0 scale.

Original Press Release:

$270,000 Gift Creates Walter E. Panse Scholarship

A Gift Continuing to Grow

Since 1998, the SME Education Foundation has provided over $4.0 million in financial aid through its scholarship program. This year, 140 students received scholarships.

DEARBORN, Mich., - In the winter of 1974, Walter E. Panse, a Michigan tool and die executive, read an article published in the winter edition of the SME News & Technical Digest, "Tool and Die Men-a People Shortage." He decided he wanted to help and donated $10,000 to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Endowment, a very generous first gift to his passion and belief in the importance of U.S. manufacturing.

Today, the SME Education Foundation announces the creation of the Walter E. Panse Scholarship with a $270,000 gift from his estate. The new scholarship will be available in 2011 to North American undergraduate students studying engineering and technology.

Walter Panse and other visionary men and women cared about the future of an industry and did something to support its future. According to an Industry Week article (June 23), referencing the 2010 Global Manufacturing Competitive Index, a research report from Deloitte's Global Manufacturing Industry Group and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, difficulties accessing the right kind of talent are likely to contribute to the United States becoming less globally competitive in the next five years.

The SME Education Foundation, working with academic institutions, business and industry, is addressing this lack of talent problem by focusing on young people, beginning in the sixth grade. The Foundation encourages tougher, more challenging courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, and provides programs, financial support and college scholarships made possible with endowments established by people like Mr. Panse.

Bart A. Aslin, director, SME Education Foundation, says, "We have reached critical mass. I would encourage people concerned with the state of American manufacturing and a return on their investments to consider Mr. Panse and his contribution and consider it a lesson learned. When competitiveness reports such as Deloitte's show us show us the United States slipping in rank from fourth to fifth by 2015, the highest ranking country to show a decline - while China and India remain as the leaders, we need to be proactive and consider making a difference as he did."

Mr. Panse joined the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) in 1949 while living in Dayton, Ohio. At that time he was president of A. Reich Machinery Rebuilding Company. He previously had served as a tool maker for Dodge Brothers, general superintendent for Congress Tool and Die Company, and manager of Experimental Tool and Die Company.

In 1950 Mr. Panse organized the firm of Plymouth Gage and Tool where he served as its president and CEO until 1964, at which time it was sold to Federal Mogul Corporation. Mr. Panse was active in many philanthropic and humanitarian areas including leadership for a number of years in the Exchange Student Program of Rotary International. Mr. Panse, who died in 1982, was a Life Member of SME and is now included as a member of the SME Education Foundation's Heritage Society, which recognizes individuals who, through their estate planning, have named the Foundation as a beneficiary in their will or trust, or established a giving vehicle such as an annuity or remainder trust.

Since 1998, the Foundation has provided over $4.0 million in financial aid through its various scholarship programs. This year, 140 students have received SME Education Foundation scholarships. These have included graduating high school seniors, current undergraduates and masters or doctoral degree students pursuing degrees in manufacturing and related fields at two-year and four-year colleges. To find out more information about SME Education Foundation scholarships and how to apply, visit

About the Walter E. Panse Scholarship:
Scholarship applicants must be full-time North American undergraduate students studying engineering and/or technology. Preference is given to students who demonstrate leadership skills in a community, academic, or professional environment. Scholarship applicants must possess an overall minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The scholarship can only be used as a credit toward tuition, books, or fees.

SME Education Foundation - Planned Giving:
SME Education Foundation - Planned Giving arrangement is available to help individuals meet their own unique financial needs. It provides gift plans to benefit the individual and their family; brings immediate and deferred tax advantages to both the individual and their heirs, and has a meaningful impact on the SME Education Foundation beyond their own lifetime. There are many opportunities for customized charitable giving with designed gift plans which make a difference for individuals and the future of manufacturing. Contact the Foundation at 313.425-3000 or

About the SME Education Foundation:
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, supporting and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, and celebrating its 30th Anniversary, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit the SME Education Foundation at, a new website supporting advanced manufacturing careers, and an award-winning website for young people,


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