Chinese aluminum firm gives Purdue $10 million grant

Purdue University and China's second-largest aluminum company have forged a partnership under which the company will give Purdue $10 million over the next five years to support international programs, research and faculty training.

The Journal & Courier of Lafayette said Purdue's agreement with Nanshan Group Co. Ltd. also calls for part of its gift to fund Purdue scholarships for students who have graduated from Chinese high schools or who are enrolled in Chinese institutions of higher learning.

Those scholarships will help Chinese students offset the costs of tuition, which is much higher for them than Indiana residents. It also will help keep the campus diverse, said Michael Brzezinski, dean of Purdue's international programs.

He said the partnership with Nanshan will help Purdue champion Indiana as a prime place for Chinese companies to move or expand.

"We're very keen on trying to advance business opportunities for the state of Indiana, and our first target country is China," Brzezinski said.

Purdue President France Cordova and Nanshan Chairman Jianbo Song signed the documents Monday that cement the university's partnership with the aluminum company.

Lijun Du, president of Nanshan America Co., is a Purdue alumnus. Earlier this year, he announced plans to build a $100 million, 435,000-square-foot aluminum extrusion facility in Lafayette. That plant is scheduled to open in early 2012 and employ 150 people within two years.

Nanshan's grant will provide $2 million each year for the next five years.

The final breakdown of how the money will be distributed hasn't yet been determined.

But during the announcement Monday, Cordova emphasized that she considers the partnership a prime example of how the university can work with international businesses to "help pursue research, learning and engagement."

"This is a proud moment for all of us," she said.

The grant will support programming coordinated through Purdue's Office of International Programs and its China Center, including study abroad programs and international business engagement efforts.

It also will fund research, training and consulting opportunities for faculty in the Purdue School of Materials Engineering, in Krannert School of Management, and in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Those opportunities will come from Nanshan and its Yantai Nanshan University.

Brzezinski said faculty and researchers will work with those organizations on projects that will help advance their careers and benefit Nanshan's interests.

Faculty also will lead training programs for Nanshan employees and officials, and will help with curriculum development at Yantai Nanshan University.

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