Phase Foundation Establishes Engineering Program Fund and Endowed Scholarship at Montgomery College

College has largest university transfer engineering program at the community college level in the nation

Montgomery College received a $10,000 grant from the Phase Foundation to support its engineering program. Half the grant will be used to fund the engineering department’s efforts to recruit new students, as well as support current students working on special projects, including traveling to engineering competitions and conferences. The other half is the first payment toward a $25,000 commitment to establish the Phase Foundation Endowed Engineering Scholarship for Montgomery College students with financial needs.

The Phase Foundation was started in 1989 by the late Dr. Norris C. Hekimian and his wife, Betty, and is now under the leadership of the Hekimian children. Hekimian, the only child of an Armenian immigrant, was an engineer and entrepreneur. He founded Hekimian Laboratories Incorporated, a telecommunications test equipment company, in 1968. With its first offices in his Rockville home, the company grew to more than $30 million in revenue before it was sold to Axel Johnson, Inc. in 1983, which later sold it to Spirent PLC in 2000 for $1.6 billion.

“The number of engineering majors at Montgomery College has increased substantially in recent years, and many of these students have significant financial needs,” said Eun-Woo Chang, dean of science, engineering and mathematics at Montgomery College. “We greatly appreciate the Phase Foundation’s generous support and assistance to our engineering students. The Hekimian family’s commitment to education will certainly help our mission to increase the engineering workforce in our community.”

A lifelong resident of the greater Washington, DC area, Hekimian and his wife, Betty, were avid supporters of the performing arts and education, and were regular patrons of the College’s Summer Dinner Theatre (SDT). Last year, the Phase Foundation provided a grant to establish the Dr. Norris C. Hekimian Memorial Endowed Scholarship for students participating in the summer theatre program. The current grant also celebrates the Hekimian family’s interest in engineering.

With more than 1,300 students, Montgomery College boasts the largest university transfer engineering program at the community college level in the nation. With 11 different engineering programs, students transfer to some of the best four-year institutions, including the University of Maryland, Georgia Institute of Technology, George Washington University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.