Published: Aug. 21, 2019

A CU Boulder student tours the high-speed beverage can manufacturing facilities in Golden during Ball Cooperation Career Day, 2018.

CU Boulder students tour the high-speed beverage can manufacturing facilities in Golden during Ball Corporation Career Day, 2018. Credit: Ball Corporation

CU Boulder announced two major gifts Thursday from Ball Corporation and its foundation, including a $1 million gift from Ball to support the university’s new Aerospace Engineering Sciences building opening this fall. 

The Ball Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Ball, also made a $104,000 grant for scholarships to grow the pool of diverse talent through the BOLD (Broadening Opportunity through Leadership and Diversity) program in CU engineering and EXCEL program in the Leeds School of Business.

The Ball investments are the latest commitments to the university in a long partnership that spans more than six decades. 

CU Boulder was an early catalyst for the company entering the aerospace industry in 1956 with the founding of the Ball Brothers Research Corporation. This new research group embraced many CU faculty and graduate students who had been part of the Upper Air Laboratory (now LASP). Ball Aerospace has since excelled in developing aerospace technologies and services for the U.S. government. 

“Ball Corporation is a leader in so many ways in our community and we’re thankful for their partnership in developing the workforce of the future,” says Bobby Braun, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science. “Ball embodies the term ‘good corporate citizen.’ In addition to its generous financial support, the company’s leadership and employees are committed to volunteering, and advising our students and faculty.” 

CU partners with Ball in many ways across the campus, including senior engineering design projects, NASA contracts, and student professional development. This latest investment breaks ground for several new initiatives. 

“We are pleased to support a strengthening and expansion of Aerospace Engineering Sciences and look forward to the impact it will make for the students, faculty and the pipeline of talent for industry,” said John Hayes, Ball chairman, president and CEO. “We are committed to working with CU to develop this talent through our scholarship support and mentoring of students by Ball employees.”

The BOLD Center provides holistic support for engineering students through an array of academic, social and professional development programs. BOLD scholarships play a key role in encouraging students to choose to attend CU Boulder Engineering and Applied Science, to connect with a community of peers, persist to graduation and achieve high academic success. 

Ball also is supporting students in the CU Leeds school, which is committed to ensuring access to students from underrepresented, first-generation and low-income backgrounds who may not have been afforded the opportunities to participate in high-stake test or college admissions preparation. To ensure promising students are not overlooked, Leeds carefully selects applicants who meet this demographic and demonstrate resiliency, talent and promise to interview for the Leeds EXCEL Scholars program. 

Scholarship support adds another facet to Ball’s support of CU Boulder students. The company has a strong recruiting and professional development presence on campus, including career and internship fairs, networking events, activities during National Engineers Week and a mentoring program through the BOLD Center. Hayes also spoke at last year’s EXCEL Summer Bridge Program and EXCEL students have participated in Ball’s Diversity and Inclusion Day.

In addition to a long-running collaboration in aerospace, CU and Ball are also working together on the sustainability initiatives of the college, among them, the LEED Gold certification of the new Aerospace Engineering Sciences building and the College of Engineering and Applied Science’s plastics-free initiative launching this fall.