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Domtar Supports Higher Education, Offers Merit Awards

Categories: Giving Back, Our Company
Domtar Supports Higher Education

We believe in supporting the next generation of manufacturers and in encouraging young people as they learn, grow and explore career opportunities. It’s who we are, and it shapes who we will be. It’s also why Domtar supports higher education through scholarships and merit awards.

Each year, Domtar offers Excellence in Education scholarships to children of Domtar employees. Since launching the program in 1997, Domtar has awarded $1 million in scholarships. These awards have helped students continue their education in a variety of fields.

In addition, Domtar partners with several universities that offer paper science and related industry programs. We supply materials to instructors, contribute to seminars and classroom presentations, provide program funding and support scholarship and award programs.

The Domtar Award at Miami University

One such program is the Paper Science and Engineering Foundation at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Domtar gave the foundation a $25,000 endowment in 2014. Jonathan Kerr, executive director of the foundation, explained that the endowment helps the university’s College of Engineering & Computing attract more students to its paper science program.

“The world needs more engineers. Specifically, the paper industry has a growing demand for them,” Kerr said. “Our mission is to attract and retain high-ability engineering students for careers of leadership in the pulp and paper industry. … When we talk to students about the paper industry, which some haven’t even considered, and we explain what we can offer in terms of scholarships, it’s very attractive to them.”

Domtar’s endowment funds the foundation’s annual Domtar Award, which is based on academic achievement and enrollment in paper science coursework. The 2016 recipient of this award was Zeb Pontius, who is studying mechanical engineering and is one of 105 students in Miami University’s paper science program.

Turning a Family Legacy into a Future Career

In his thank-you letter to the foundation, Pontius talked about his family connection to the paper industry and his interest in following in his grandfather’s footsteps.

“My grandfather worked in the paper industry as a chemist for his entire career,” Pontius wrote. “I thought paper was interesting after hearing some of his stories, but the mills he worked at in Ohio closed long ago.”

Pontius’ grandfather died several years ago, taking his knowledge of the paper industry with him. But Pontius had an opportunity to speak with Kerr, and their conversation renewed Pontius’ interest in the flourishing pulp and paper industry.

“Papermaking has become very special to me, and I am excited to be part of it,” he wrote. “I hope to work as a reliability and maintainability engineer after graduation. … This summer, I will be working as an engineering intern for Domtar at the Kingsport Mill. I am excited for this opportunity to work with such a great company while learning about reliability engineering in a paper mill, and I am eager to do a good job for everyone at Domtar.”

Pontius concluded his letter by expressing his gratitude for the Domtar Award, which will assist with his ongoing education in the field.

“Your gracious gift has allowed me to pursue opportunities and helped me become a better student,” he wrote. “I believe that such positive experiences will help me be a better person and, I hope, a better engineer. Thank you very much.”

Pontius’ enthusiasm is encouraging to Kerr, who is excited about the opportunities for young engineers in today’s paper industry. He said, “We’re very confident about the vitality of the industry, and we we are confident about sending students into a career that’s not only valuable for the industry but also challenging and exciting for them.”

Where Domtar Supports Higher Education

Students interested in learning more about the pulp and paper industry and about scholarships funded by Domtar should contact their local universities and Domtar facilities. Our current university and higher education partnerships include: