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Electrical firm to supply equipment and funding to Quebec university

Sherbrooke, QC -- Feb. 6, 2002 -- The Universit de Sherbrooke in Quebec and Schneider Electric of Mississauga, Ont...


Sherbrooke, QC — Feb. 6, 2002 — The Universit de Sherbrooke in Quebec and Schneider Electric of Mississauga, Ont., have entered into a three-year agreement under which the French multinational company becomes the preferred supplier of electrical equipment to the university. In addition, Schneider Electric will set aside a percentage of sales for an equipment donation to the engineering department’s electrical engineering laboratories.

“The Schneider Electric Educational Partnership Program demonstrates the commitment of the company toward university communities”, said Albert Renaud, president of Schneider Electric (Canada). A donation of about $300,000 from Schneider Electric will allow the engineering students to develop skills in laboratories equipped with leading-edge electrical technologies. “Our equipment will enable technicians and professors to offer innovative, hands-on training to the electrical engineers of tomorrow,” said Renaud.

Luce Samoisette, assistant vice-chancellor and administrative vice-rector of the university, said the agreement coincides with the current expansion phase: “We have started the work scheduled in the Academic Vocational Space Addition Plan and in the Major Reorganization Plan. These include capital investments of $25 million and $15 million, which will permit an addition of approximately 13,500 sq m to the campuses.

These new facilities, which include new scientific laboratories such as the Intelligent Materials and Systems Institute (IMSI), will be equipped by Schneider Electric’s electrical equipment.”

The collaboration between the organizations has already created the Andr Blanchet Laboratory in the University’s engineering department. Launched at the end of November 2001, the lab is named in honour of the engineer, inventor, and founder, in 1924, of La Tlmcanique lectrique, a French company that later joined Groupe Schneider (which has been renamed Schneider Electric). A Knight of the Legion of Honour of the French Republic, Andr Blanchet became a pioneer in the electrical industry when he invented and patented the first bar-mounted contactor in 1924.

The Universit de Sherbrooke claims to have pioneered problem-and project-based learning. To reflect this new learning philosophy, the undergraduate programs in electrical and computer engineering were significantly revised in September 2001. With the new emphasis on skill development, courses require students to be grouped in teams, and work on “real world” projects supervised by professors in a tutorial format.

Schneider Electric brands include Federal Pioneer, Merlin Gerin, Modicon, Square D and Telemecanique. In Canada, the company has over 1,600 people in four manufacturing and 15 service facilities, and 24 sales offices.

By Bill Roebuck, Editor