Dayton Business Journal: Wright State strengthens partnership with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base


Wright State University President Sue Edwards

A local university is prioritizing its commitment to growing as an anchor institution to Ohio’s largest, single-site employer, forming an alliance that will benefit its graduates.

Wright State University President Sue Edwards says her institution’s top priority is meeting the needs of its students and the Dayton region. She says Wright State plans to continue strengthening an ongoing relationship with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB).

“Our mission is to ensure a ready workforce for WPAFB and surrounding contractors,” she says. “Wright State will continue to evolve our curriculum to ensure it is reflective of the needs of WPAFB and surrounding defense-related companies.”

Wright State is the 2023 Military Supporter of the Year by Dayton Business Journal.

Officials from Wright State and WPAFB have formed an initial agreement that affords Air Force researchers access to work in university facilities. Wright State’s efforts are connected to the Inter-Governmental Service Agreement that is expected to be completed by 2024. The IGSA will open research and laboratory space on campus for base researchers, faculty, and students to work side-by-side on cutting-edge research. This will work in conjunction with the new Center for Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance.

Wright State has also secured additional funding for its Clearance Ready Program, which exposes students to opportunities at WPAFB and surrounding defense contractors, preparing them for the security clearance process and connecting them to employment opportunities.

Edwards says most Wright State students remain in the Dayton region after graduation. Therefore, opportunities for students to participate in Air-Force-conducted research fostering successful career paths are essential.

“We always strive to provide a holistic approach to our students and a high-quality educational experience that extends beyond the classroom,” Edwards says. “Encouraging our students to gain workplace experience with local companies and on WPAFB provides them with not only an opportunity to learn and hone their applied skills but also provides our industry partners the opportunity to assess them for potential employment.”

Greg Sample, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Wright State, says the university and base are becoming more connected to each other as they foresee future challenges with workforce and other initiatives.

“Wright State has adopted innovative ideas that will connect students to the opportunities on Wright-Patterson, solidifying a talent pipeline to sustain the missions at the base,” he says. “Wright State University has dedicated itself to being an anchor institution of higher education for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base by educating the next generation of workforce for the base and surrounding regions.”

Wright State University is integrating Wright-Patterson into its campus culture with hopes of being the primary support mechanism to the base. The relationship has grown beyond workforce development.

Wright State University and Wright-Patterson have partnered on initiatives that are unique to the region and country. The university is opening its entire campus to base personnel under a blanket inter-governmental service agreement, allowing for collaborative research, increased innovation, and enhanced opportunities for students.

“The role of higher education in the defense sector is valuable and unique because it sits at the intersection of cutting-edge research and workforce development,” Edwards says. “Continued enrollment growth for Wright State University means more positions filled at WPAFB and defense-related companies. An education at Wright State gives our graduates higher economic mobility and they, in turn, contribute to the betterment of our community. Their success is our success.”

View the original story at

Comments are closed.