UNC Charlotte has named the EPIC building the Albert & Freeman Energy Production and Infrastructure Center to recognize and honor alumni Craig and Darla Albert. The naming took place during a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
“We are proud to celebrate and recognize alumni Craig and Darla Albert for their unwavering support of our University,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “Their leadership and support of The William States Lee College of Engineering enables us to take another huge stride in our ongoing efforts to recruit and support deserving students and talented faculty.”
The generosity of the Alberts, especially throughout Exponential: The Campaign for UNC Charlotte, established both the Albert Engineering Leadership Scholars program and the Freeman Scholarship, both housed in the University’s Honors College. Exponential, which concluded on June 30, 2020, raised more than $218 million to enhance the experiences of UNC Charlotte students and faculty, while strengthening the University’s academic programs.
“The Albert Engineering Leadership Scholars Program and the Freeman Scholarship are having a transformational impact on our honors students,” said Malin Pereira, executive director of the Honors College. “Craig and Darla Albert’s thoughtful and generous support allows our students to dream and achieve beyond anything they ever imagined for themselves.”
The Albert Engineering Leadership Scholars Program invests in superior students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of academic achievement, leadership and community engagement. Albert Scholars serve as the next generation of leaders who will make dynamic contributions to the field of engineering. The program offers students a full, four-year scholarship, along with academic support and the professional guidance necessary to achieve their educational and professional goals. There are currently twelve scholars in the program and four alumni.
The Freeman Scholarship provides renewable scholarship support to students pursuing any major who are eligible for one of the University’s honors programs. The Freeman Scholarship is open to incoming first-year students eligible for a Federal Pell Grant or other federal grant aid programs. The scholarship places a strong emphasis on commitment to academics. Currently six students have received a Freeman scholarship.
"Darla and I were honored when we learned that the UNC Charlotte Energy Production and Infrastructure Center building would bear our name," said Craig Albert. "UNC Charlotte was integral in shaping and molding Darla and me personally and professionally. We established the Albert Engineering Leadership Scholars Program and the Freeman Scholarship to provide current and future students with a world-class education, along with opportunities to develop into and emerge as influential community and industry leaders.”
Craig Albert earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Lee College of Engineering in 1985 and currently serves as president and chief operating officer of Bechtel Group Inc., the largest engineering and construction firm in the United States. He is responsible for the management and oversight of the firm’s global operations and serves on the company’s board of directors. Darla Albert earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business in 1983.
"This naming of the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center building recognizes and honors the kind generosity and tremendous passion the Albert family has for The William States Lee College of Engineering, especially our students," said Rob Keynton, dean of the college. "It is a wonderful illustration of the importance for providing engineering students from various backgrounds with the proper training to become the future leaders for meeting the challenging and constantly evolving needs of industry."
Photo, top, Craig and Darla Albert flank recipients of their scholarships from 2019.