Purdue Polytechnic Institute’s Mechanical Engineering Technology Program Partners with Gibson

Published : Sunday, September 17, 2023, 10:23 am
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Purdue Polytechnic Institute’s School of Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program and Gibson, the iconic and leading global instrument brand, and its charitable foundation, Gibson Gives have formed a pioneering alliance offering students the necessary experiential learning to create highly skilled future luthiers.

Centered on MET's "Stringed Instrument Design and Manufacture (MET 34900)" class led by professor Mark French, the Gibson partnership is designed to bring unprecedented hands-on learning opportunities to students in Purdue Polytechnic’s “Guitar Lab,” newly renovated and moved to a larger space in Lambertus Hall.

“The goal of the program at Purdue is to foster a direct pipeline of talented future luthiers and engineers, and open-up avenues for collaborative research and innovation in guitar design and manufacturing,” says Sergio Villanueva, Vice President, American Production of Gibson Brands. “Gibson chose Purdue due to the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program major and its ‘Stringed Instrument Design and Manufacture’ class, which is the only one of its kind currently in higher education.”

“Orville Gibson started Gibson in 1894 based on his innovative ideas of how to build mandolins and later guitars that would sound bigger and better. Throughout the early 1900’s, the Golden Era and all the way to today, Gibson has driven guitar and sound innovation. At the Gibson Labs we apply Orville’s principle that anything we do has to be in service to sound. Therefore, partnering with Purdue Polytechnic’s MET program, and its Guitar Lab led by Dr. French, is a natural evolution and consistent with our heritage of innovation. Together, we will invest in the future of sound.” --Cesar Gueikian, President, and CEO of Gibson Brands

“This partnership not only underscores our dedication to experiential learning but showcases the dedication of both Purdue and Gibson to fostering an environment where creativity meets opportunity. Together, we are molding the next generation of technology leaders,” adds Daniel Castro, Dean of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

In addition, MET’s stringed instrument class is Purdue Professor Mark French’s brainchild. A passionate educator with over two decades of experience as both a luthier and in the world of mechanical engineering technology, French has always been interested in the physics of musical instruments. In addition to an array of academic contributions, French’s co-authored works on guitar electronics, his upstart YouTube channel and cherished collection of vintage and modern guitars have helped make the Purdue Guitar Lab courses a sought-after sensation on the Purdue campus.

“The Gibson partnership will benefit every student in the guitar lab,” says Mark French, Professor at Purdue University Polytechnic Institute. “I’ve had the privilege to see so many bright students in our guitar class. Helping them to understand product development and how this industry works will make them better engineers, no matter what field they pursue.”

The Purdue partnership marks the first experiential learning collaboration with a university in Gibson’s 130-year legacy. As part of Gibson's commitment to excellence in musical artistry and craftsmanship, the brand is pledging formal support to the Purdue Guitar Lab in the following ways:

(1) Gibson through its philanthropic arm, Gibson Gives, will be gifting guitars from Gibson's illustrious collection to be showcased in the lab, offering students a first-hand look at top-tier instruments.

(2) By offering direct monetary support, Gibson Gives in their efforts to advance musicians and support music education, will ensure the Purdue Guitar Lab remains operational throughout the year. This funding also facilitates the hiring of undergraduate teaching assistants to maintain consistent learning and operations.

(3) Gibson will assist in the provision of essential lab supplies and materials required for the design and manufacture of stringed instruments.

(4) Gibson will provide valuable insights and experiences from Gibson's trained luthiers and industry-leading executives throughout the semester, granting students a unique perspective into the commercial side of their craftsmanship.

Starting this semester, support will extend throughout the academic year, with both Gibson and Purdue seeking to renew and fortify the partnership in subsequent years.

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