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News and Events

Caterpillar invests in students’ futures with Illinois business-engineering program

Oct 15, 2018, 05:47 by Gies College of Business

Caterpillar Inc. is the newest corporate affiliate of The Hoeft Technology & Management Program, the undergraduate minor degree that bridges Gies College of Business and the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois. In this cross-functional program, teams of business and engineering students learn and work together to develop comprehensive solutions to real-world problems.

“We’re incredibly excited about this new chapter in Caterpillar’s decades-long relationship with the University of Illinois,” said Caterpillar Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Tom Bluth. “Becoming an affiliate of the program is a natural fit for us, because the intersection of business and engineering is at the core of how we develop the products and solutions that benefit our customers. We’re also proud to have been connected to the T&M Program since its start: A member of our Caterpillar family had the vision to create the program and the passion to make it possible.”

In 1995, Leonard Hoeft—a former Caterpillar employee and former President, CEO, and Chairman of Cat dealer Ziegler Inc.—provided the concept and the initial gift that spring-boarded the T&M Program into existence. Hoeft and his family continued to support the program through additional endowments over the years.

“I am delighted that Caterpillar will be joining The Hoeft Technology & Management Program as an affiliate,” said Jeffrey R. Brown, Josef and Margot Lakonishok Professor of Business and Dean of Gies College of Business. “As a company with strong roots in the state of Illinois and a long history of engagement with our University, our students will benefit from this collaborative and productive relationship.”

Tamer Başar, Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, said, “Caterpillar’s history of technical innovation and of business strength makes it a welcome affiliate to the T&M Program. Their interaction with our students can only help to make our program, and the students who participate, stronger.”

In addition to becoming an affiliate, Caterpillar will supply a capstone project for a student team, and Caterpillar leaders Dan Henderson and Steve Weiland—both Illinois alumni—have joined the T&M Corporate Advisory Board. Dan is Caterpillar’s Director of Innovation & Emerging Technology, and Steve leads finance for Cat Digital and is a graduate of the T&M Program. Both look forward to providing input on the Program’s direction to help the board make the greatest impact on the students’ futures.

About the College of Engineering at Illinois

As one of the world's top-ranked engineering programs, Illinois Engineering’s students, faculty, and alumni set the standard for excellence. We drive the economy, reimagine engineering education, and bring revolutionary ideas to the world. The College of Engineering is home to more than 10,000 students. We are one of the Top 5 colleges in the country in terms of research expenditures, with nearly $240 million in research conducted every year. More than 80,000 living alumni have founded or led companies like YouTube, Yelp, Bloom Energy, C3 IoT, Grainger Industrial Supply, Tesla Motors, PayPal, and BP.

About Gies College of Business at Illinois

Gies College of Business provides a world-class educational experience for the next generation of business leaders. For more than 100 years, the College has delivered on the promise of innovation in business education, with a commitment to cutting-edge curriculum design and delivery, exceptional experiential learning opportunities, and unparalleled academic excellence. Today our faculty prepare more than 5,100 students, including 3,100 undergraduates, to be at the forefront of innovation and leadership in the global economy.

About Caterpillar

For more than 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2017 sales and revenues of $45.462 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three primary segments—Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation—and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. For more information, visit To connect on social media, visit