HBCU Howard University has received a record-breaking donation.

According to a press release provided to AFROTECH™, Howard University has become the recipient of a $5 million donation from Autodesk, a global leader in design and technology, as part of a collaboration the two have shared for six years. The company additionally allows its software to be used in classrooms at no cost to students and educators.

The new funding will support the College of Engineering and Architecture’s Design and Make lab to provide software and state-of-the-art equipment, as well as educators who will empower the future engineers. 

This marks the largest unrestricted philanthropic donation in the college’s history, according to the release.

“We’ve been fortunate to have a long relationship with Autodesk that has truly benefited our students. This gift is yet another way in which Autodesk is helping to set our students up for success,” Howard University professor and department chair of mechanical engineering, Nadir Yilmaz, Ph.D., P.E., told AFROTECH™ in a statement. “We are thrilled that Autodesk is not only helping us open a state-of-the-art Design and Make lab for hands-on learning, but we will also have the resources to ensure the Lab’s excellence for decades to come. As AI and tech skills become more critical for our aspiring engineers, it’s donations like these that will help us stay at the forefront of innovation.”

The Design and Make lab is projected to open in 2025 and will not only cater to the Howard University students but will scale its presence to reach K-12 students through the integration of its A World In Motion Pre K-12 STEM program in partnership with the SAE Foundation, which has helped 6 million students so far.

“As a global software and technology company that is helping design and make the world we live in, we believe we have a responsibility to arm young people with the education and tech skills they need to succeed in the industries we serve – from engineering and construction to design and manufacturing, and even media and entertainment,” Autodesk Chief Marketing Officer Dara Treseder explained to AFROTECH™. “We believe that creating a diverse and equitable future extends beyond Autodesk’s employees and customers – it starts with equal opportunities in education. That’s why we offer free access to Autodesk’s professional tools for students and educators.”

Treseder continued, “Autodesk donates to schools like Howard University so that we can help expand access to technology for historically underserved communities. Autodesk’s most senior leaders, including our CEO Andrew Anagnost, personally champion this commitment to enhancing the educational experiences that these students often don’t have access to. I hope Autodesk’s dedication to education inspires other tech companies to invest in students and see the role they play in building a diverse talent pool from the ground up.”