Raytheon is planning to invest at least $50 million over the next seven years to establish a campus in Kuwait for the University of Massachusetts Lowell, according to the Boston Globe. The pact, two years in the making, will offer undergraduate degrees in engineering and other fields on the campus of the Gulf University of Science and Technology, established in Kuwait in 2002. Raytheon and UMass Lowell had announced in 2012 that they would explore a first-of-its-kind educational partnership in Kuwait.
Under the arrangement cited by the Globe, classes would begin in January and a new engineering college will be built in Kuwait City. Marty Meehan, the UMass Lowell chancellor, said the initiative is part of a plan of the institution to become more international.
Raytheon’s investment, according to the Globe, represents a “defense offset,” in which a company agrees to invest in a foreign country in exchange for that country buying the company’s weapons.
The Globe quotes William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, as saying, “There have been cases of things like helping a country build a hotel complex. I have not heard of a case of a university campus being financed by a weapons contractor as part of an offset deal. He added that it is “hard to know if this could become a trend” but said it is “certainly an interesting way at the problem.”
The Globe reports, “In recent years, the Kuwaiti government has purchased billions of dollars worth of Raytheon products, including Patriot antimissile systems and radars; for example, the Persian Gulf nation reached a nearly $700 million deal with the company’s Integrated Air Defense Systems Division in Andover this year.”
In related news, Raytheon won a place in The Civic 50 ranking of the most community-minded companies for the third year in a row. The company was recognized for its focused strategy addressing math and science education; its support for U.S. Armed Service members; and the willingness of its employees to volunteer in local communities.
The annual survey conducted by the Points of Light Corporate Institute in partnership with Bloomberg LP and True Impact, identifies and recognizes companies for their commitment to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business.
“Corporate civic engagement is on the rise and it’s being led by the forward-thinking businesses included on The Civic 50 list,” said Neil Bush, chairman of Points of Light, in a press release. “The correlation their efforts showcase between community engagement and employee retention, productivity, and overall bottom-line benefits continues to prove that businesses that do good, do well.”
Raytheon said it was evaluated on several criteria including community investment, community-business integration, supportive institutional policies, and impact measurement, as expressed through several initiatives:
- working with members of the armed services as they transition back to civilian life by providing scholarships and professional mentoring to student veterans and supporting information technology training programs for wounded warriors, and
- inspiring the next generation of scientists, technologists and engineers through the company’s flagship STEM education program MathMovesU.
In addition, iVolunteer, Raytheon’s employee volunteer program, has seen more than 575,000 hours logged by employees in support of their local communities over the past three years.
“Raytheon’s culture of service is grounded by our mission to support the men and women of the armed services, educate the next generation of scientists and engineers, and innovate for a sustainable future,” said Thomas Kennedy, chairman and CEO of Raytheon. “We are committed to demonstrating leadership by placing a high value on corporate responsibility, and are honored to be recognized by Bloomberg and Points of Light for the third consecutive year.”
And other related news, Raytheon UMass Lowell announced in August an agreement to establish a joint research facility focused on the advancement of innovative technologies in a collaborative, state-of-the-art institute. Raytheon is committing $3 million with options to $5 million throughout the next 10 years for establishment of this research facility.
The Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute (RURI) will feature state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms that will serve as a launch pad for collaboration and learning among UMass Lowell faculty and students and Raytheon employees to benefit both organizations in the pursuit of federal research funding. It will also provide UMass Lowell students with opportunities for research projects and employment opportunities at Raytheon.