March 10, 2003
CONTACT: Ward Mullens



YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University will play a substantial role in the United States’ national security initiative, both at home and abroad, thanks to special federal appropriations totaling $3.1 million.

EMU’s Coatings Research Institute (CRI) will receive $2.1 million from the Department of Defense for an innovative project to protect military vehicles from biochemical hazards. Another $1 million award from the Department of Justice will help EMU establish a Center for Community Building and Civic Engagement.

“These appropriations are a tangible result of Eastern Michigan University’s on-going commitment to partnerships with government, community organizations and business to address issues of regional and national importance,” said Samuel Kirkpatrick, president of Eastern Michigan University. “During our strategic planning process, several areas were identified that could have a substantial impact on our community and the nation. These two awards represent the University’s commitment and the faculty’s ability to link knowledge resources to direct needs in order to produce practical results.”

The CRI will partner with the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), which is part of the Army’s Research Development and Engineering Command, on research and development of longer lasting coatings for vehicles and equipment with multifunctional protective coatings that provide improved durability for weather, corrosion, chemical and biological resistance. The CRI is a national center that partners with government, industry and other universities to conduct basic and applied research on high tech coating materials.

“We are extremely pleased to be working with EMU because it is recognized as the premier coatings research institute in the country,” said Bruce Fink, chief of the weapons materials division of ARL.

“This funding will expand the research capacity of the Coatings Research Institute and enhance and broaden the research capability of EMU. I view this as a significant opportunity for CRI to do highly relevant research on the practical problem of corrosion prevention and control,” said Ted Provder, director of EMU’s CRI.

In May 1998, an Army Material Command corrosion prevention and control program documented that corrosion costs the Department of Defense about $10 billion a year. More recent independent studies estimate the costs of corrosion to be greater than $20 billion a year.

“These initial federal appropriations are an important and early milestone of EMU’s involvement with the homeland security component of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s tri-corridor initiatives and represents the strength of federal-state-university partnerships,” Kirkpatrick said.

Closer to home, Eastern Michigan University will establish a Center for Community Building and Civic Engagement that develops programs, leadership training, technical assistance and applied research relevant to communities in southeast Michigan. The initial program will involve the Ypsilanti Police Department, Detroit’s 4th Police Precinct, the Latino Family Services Agency and the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Service (ACCESS).

“Our nation can be no stronger than our communities. This program will build upon another successful grant – the Community Outreach Partnership Center – that links community organizations, municipal government and the University in order to identify and address social, cultural and economic needs of Ypsilanti and its residents,” Kirkpatrick said.

“The Center for Community Building and Civic Engagement will strengthen community organizations and individuals by helping them in terms of management, leadership and program planning,” said Ron Woods, director for the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities.

“As part of the Center’s goals, individuals in the fellowship mentoring program will work with EMU faculty for a one-year period. There will be mentoring of individuals by teams of faculty to develop and implement specific programs that deal with youth, violence, crime, engagement and integrating with the community,” Woods said.

Congressman John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), as well as representatives from the offices of Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and officials from the city of Ypsilanti participated in the conference.

Eastern Michigan University ( is a four-year, comprehensive metropolitan University committed to the needs of its students and communities through teaching, research and service. EMU offers more than 400 programs in the arts, sciences and professions through traditional classroom settings, off-site continuing education classes and online courses. EMU is the fifth largest University in Michigan, serving more than 24,000 students from around the world and offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate programs.