Office of the President

Dr. Patrick T. Harker is the 26th president of the University of Delaware. He also serves as professor of business administration in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering.

Bloom Energy Groundbreaking
STAR Campus
April 30, 2012

Read the UDaily story

So it’s up to me to follow early aviation, a moon landing, Einstein, and Dr. King? I’ll give it my best shot.

I’m thrilled to welcome all of you to the University of Delaware for this historic event. This morning, we formally break ground on the Bloom Energy Manufacturing Center, the California company’s first East Coast facility.

Without doubt, today is a celebration of many things we cherish as a community: clean-energy leadership, economic development that marries cutting-edge science and technology with a strong manufacturing base, good jobs for hardworking Delawareans, an abiding commitment to discovery, invention, and innovation as the way forward.

Today’s agenda is tightly packed with a lot of people. But that’s how it should be. Because there were a lot of people involved in bringing Bloom to Delaware, and I’d like to acknowledge just a few of them now.

K.R. Sridhar, principal co-founder and CEO of Bloom Energy. He launched an amazing company 11 years ago, and now he’s brought it to Delaware. Both moves required vision, courage, and faith, and we couldn’t be happier to have him and Bloom Energy here in the First State.

Gov. Markell is all about the First State, and it was undeniably his determination to make this deal happen that’s brought us to this campus today. The Governor’s entire administration—notably, DEDO Director Alan Levin and DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara—backed this project from the beginning, and the hard work of a lot of people has paid off.

Delaware’s Congressional delegation—Sen. Tom Carper, Sen. Chris Coons, and Rep. John Carney—understand better than anyone what makes Delaware special, and why it pays to do business here. Their persuasive support of this project is deeply appreciated.

I’m equally grateful for the support of Delaware’s General Assembly. We have many legislators in the audience today whose to-the-mat advocacy of this Manufacturing Center has made it a reality.

Newark Mayor Vance Funk knows a good deal when he sees one. He knows his constituency, he knows his city, and he knows what’s going to benefit both. Thank you for championing this project.

Joe Rigby, president and CEO of Pepco Holdings, and Gary Stockbridge, president of Delmarva Power, partnered with the State to bring Bloom east, and to bring Delawareans clean, reliable energy. Thank you.

The extraordinary contributions of these and so many other people explain the success we celebrate this morning. I want to talk just briefly about one more contribution, and that’s the land we’re sitting on right now.

STAR Campus
This is the University of Delaware’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research Campus. And, by the way, this is the first time I’ve used its new name in public. We bought this land from the Chrysler Corporation in 2009, always with the vision to transform it into a place where the most creative, most innovative, most industrious people would come together to re-imagine what’s possible; to harness our shared knowledge, talent, and experience, and redesign the way America thinks and works.

This end-goal—higher education for the public good—goes to the very heart of our mission. The University of Delaware is a land-grant university, and—with land-grant universities across the country—this year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of our charter. Justin Morrill’s “Land-Grant” Act of 1862 opened access to higher education. It connected citizens with the knowledge, research, and resources that support community and economic development. In terms of strengthening a young nation’s democracy and prosperity, it remains one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed.

This STAR Campus is our land-grant mission in action. This is where we’ll join our efforts with Bloom Energy and with our many academic and industry partners to serve the public with practical research and important innovations, where we’ll deploy our creativity and inventiveness to solve the most persistent problems that challenge our local and global communities.

I couldn’t be happier that Bloom Energy—our very first STAR Campus tenant—is with us in this pursuit. There’s enormous benefit to be gained from this partnership, and I can’t wait to get started.

It’s a great day for Delaware—but, of course, it’s only the beginning. So I look forward to seeing you here again next spring when we open the doors to Bloom’s 21st Century manufacturing facility, one that provides clean, sustainable, affordable energy, and the jobs and opportunity that will power us to prosperity.

Governor Markell
It’s now my honor to introduce the architect of this deal, Gov. Jack Markell. We’re here because of Gov. Markell’s relentless drive to bring Bloom Energy to Delaware, to secure hundreds of jobs for Delawareans who need them, and to prove that the First State is THE state to do business.

Congratulations, Gov. Markell. This is an extraordinary moment, and I thank you for making it happen.

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