An Illinois packaging company has pledged a gift of $1 million to help build the new University of Maine Engineering Education and Design Center on the Orono campus.

Packaging Corporation of America, one of the largest makers of containerboard and corrugated packaging products in the country, made its pledge at the university’s annual Paper Days conference in April. PCA is a corporate member of the University of Maine Pulp & Paper Foundation, which sponsors the conference and encourages students to consider paper-related technical careers.

“The University of Maine is very grateful that the corporate members of the Pulp & Paper Foundation are active partners in our mission,” UMaine President Susan J. Hunter said in a prepared statement announcing the gift. “For decades, foundation members have generously supported the programming that makes our students so competitive after graduation. This gift from PCA will help us recruit and develop the next generation of industry-leading engineers.”

Up to $15 million remains to be raised toward construction of the Engineering Education and Design Center, proposed to cost up to $80 million. Groundbreaking for the facility is planned for 2020, with completion in 2022.

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