Student Success

Magna International Leads By Example

OU's partner is preparing students to succeed in an Industry 4.0 world

A professor holding a tablet, showing it to a student with a mechanical arm in the background

SECS Special Instructor Khalid Mirza, Ph.D., explains the augmented reality process to OU art student Sana Mirza. (Photo Credit: Robert Hall)

Advancing Oakland

icon of a calendarSeptember 10, 2021

icon of a pencilBy David Klinger

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Magna International, a longtime partner to Oakland University, is a leader in preparing today’s students to succeed in an Industry 4.0 world.

The company’s most recent gift of $110,000, its largest ever to OU, will support several key initiatives aimed at advancing the professional preparedness of students in the School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS) and providing cost-effective and efficient solutions for companies in the region.

A portion of this gift will support Oakland University’s Augmented Reality Center (ARC). ARC is a partnership between Oakland University, College for Creative Studies and a coalition of
regional industry partners. The center introduces students to cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) technology and provides unique opportunities for students to work alongside expert faculty and industry partners in applying this technology to various industrial applications.

As a founding industry partner of ARC, Magna International will serve on an Industrial Advisory Board with OU faculty. This group will bring forward ideas for research, training and workforce development that can be implemented at ARC for the benefit of students and industry.

Magna International’s support of ARC will also facilitate a special collaborative project that will bring together AR knowledge and technology in a way that is beneficial to industry at large.
Faculty and corporate partners will submit project ideas, and the Industrial Advisory Board will vote on entries and select a project to launch this fall.

The gift from Magna International will also provide support to 14 student organizations in the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Funding for these organizations will help students complete projects and will fund scholarships, travel to conferences and other activities designed to enhance the learning experience.

As a regional leader in industry, Magna International understands the important role AR technology will play in advancing Michigan’s evolution in Industry 4.0. The company is committed to creating standards and increasing collaboration around AR applications and developing a workforce with the skills needed to be successful in this new movement.

Industry 4.0 refers to the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices using modern “smart” technology. According to SAP, a leading business processes management company, nine foundational technologies comprise Industry 4.0. Augmented reality is one of those technologies.

Magna International is a leading collaborator with Oakland University. For more than a decade, the company has been a dedicated partner across various initiatives and a top employer of students from SECS. Magna has consistently supported the Formula SAE Team, Grizzlies Racing, and even secured representation of the SAE team at the 2019 North American International Auto Show. The company is also a longtime sponsor of the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition.

Magna International leads the way as a global automotive supplier dedicated to delivering new mobility solutions and technology that will change the world. The company’s products can be found on most vehicles today and come from 347 manufacturing operations and 84 product development, engineering and sales centers in 28 countries. The company is committed to being a responsible corporate citizen and has a long history of supporting social and charitable causes, primarily in communities around the world where its employees live and work.

According to Sherif Marakby, Magna’s executive vice president of research and development, “Magna is delighted to be a founding partner of Oakland University’s Augmented Reality Center, and we are honored to serve on the Industrial Advisory Board. We look forward to helping in the development of unique ideas for training, research and workforce development and to fostering the growth and evolution of students as they delve further into the worlds of engineering, computer science and augmented reality.”

Louay Chamra, Ph.D., dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science, is grateful to Magna International for its steadfast dedication to preparing OU students for meaningful careers and its vision for advancing industry in southeast Michigan.

“Support from Magna International is helping to bring together students, faculty and industry in new ways to collaborate on emerging technology that will advance industry all around us,”
he says. “We are very grateful for Magna’s partnership and continuing dedication to the success of our students.”

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