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Universities Tout Success of Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program

CGEP MembersLinda Vahala of ODU (left) with the representatives of other universities

For 30 years, the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP), a joint venture of five Virginia public universities, has provided unique online engineering education opportunities for graduate students.

Representatives of the five participating schools - Old Dominion University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University - hosted a breakfast for state legislators on Feb. 14 as a thank-you for 30 years of support, and to inform lawmakers about CGEP's contribution to graduate engineering education in the state.

Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash gave welcoming remarks at the event, at the Richmond Marriott, and recognized ODU's Linda Vahala, associate dean of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, who has been appointed to a three-year term as CGEP chair.

ODU played a leading role in the creation of CGEP in 1983, offering one of the first online graduate engineering programs in the state. The program has evolved and grown, and now counts thousands of working engineers among its ranks of former students.

Batten College Dean Oktay Baysal, who attended the breakfast, said ODU has a proud history of being a pioneer in distance engineering education.

"Our talented faculty contributes a diverse range of skills to students in the graduate classes, and Old Dominion University benefits greatly from this long-term partnership with four other esteemed Virginia universities," he said. "And Dr. Vahala is to be commended for her hard work with CGEP. She is an excellent choice as chair, and we're proud of her."

The Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program's core mission is to serve as the Virginia distance learning provider of post-baccalaureate education for practicing engineers and scientists who want to maintain and enhance their skills. Courses are offered at 30 different campus and distance learning sites, and online.

CGEP works closely with faculty at member institutions to encourage the development of educational materials relevant to working scientists and engineers in Virginia. Using state-of-the-art distance learning technology and a network of content-receiving institutions, CGEP delivers course content to Virginia's workforce. As a result, CGEP contributes to the economic development and social well-being of Virginia through workforce training and lifelong learning.