Howard University Department of Mechanical Engineering Receives $1M from Autodesk to Advance Student and Faculty Initiatives

HU engineering students

From The Dig:

Autodesk Inc. has donated $1 million to the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Howard University, the largest-ever unrestricted gift to the department.

The gift for the Department of Mechanical Engineering expands its manufacturing and making facilities and laboratory facilities for students enrolled in the College of Engineering and Architecture (CEA). This trust-based gift results from a five-year industry partnership of campus and student and faculty engagements with trust that the Department of Mechanical Engineering has knowledge of how best to invest the contribution to serve its mission.

“Howard University is grateful to receive this donation from Autodesk in support of our Department of Mechanical Engineering. Our College of Engineering and Architecture has produced world-class engineers for more than 115 years, and this gift will allow us to strengthen and expand support for our talented students,” said Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA, president of Howard University.

Autodesk has collaborated with the Department of Mechanical Engineering for five years, and its association with the University has benefited students across the CEA’s five departments.

“With this generous support from Autodesk, we are further equipped to strategically expand our making facilities, which serve our mechanical engineering students and ensure that Howard University students continue to have pathways that enable them to collaborate and develop innovative technologies that serve the public interest. Autodesk’s continued support of our faculty and students also positively impacts our efforts to train and develop engineers who become tomorrow’s leaders in education, government and industry,” said John M. M. Anderson, Ph.D., dean of the CEA.

The CEA aspires to leverage its unique culture and strengths to become nationally recognized for providing a pathway to opportunities and careers in engineering, computer science and architecture for Black and other underserved students, developing leaders who are inspired to serve humanity through their knowledge and innovation, and forging technologies and designing built environments that impact the Black community, as well as promote greater social prosperity. 

“We are committed to educating and training the next generation of bright engineers at Howard University. The value Autodesk places on the high-quality training and education we provide speaks highly of our results and of the achievers who graduate from our program,” said Nadir Yilmaz, Ph.D., P.E., chair and professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Autodesk provides Howard students with free access to its professional-level design software, as well as a suite of learning resources. The company also collaborates with Howard on curriculum development and has hosted Autodesk Fusion 360 workshops for students. It also held the Autodesk HBCU Tech Program to provide career pathways to students at Howard and three other Historically Black Colleges and Universities. As part of this program, students with computer science and engineering backgrounds received paid externships at Autodesk. Students collaborated with Autodesk staff on specially curated projects, tackling technical challenges like robotics security and manufacturing workflows, while gaining valuable real-world work experience.

“Autodesk is committed to helping the next generation prepare for the future of work. To keep pace with innovation and technological advances, the industry needs a workforce with the most in-demand skills. The talented students at Howard University are future innovators, and with our gift, Autodesk is honored to play a role in ensuring they have the resources and technology available to prepare for their careers,” said Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk president and CEO.


College of Engineering and Architecture and Mechanical Engineering