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Nissan donates factory robots to Alcorn State University

Nissan has donated a pair of high-tech manufacturing robots from their Canton, Mississippi plant to the Advanced Technologies program at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi.


Alcorn offers a degree program in robotics and automation technology and the donated robots will be used by students pursuing that, giving them a chance to learn how to program and operate current-generation robotics in automotive manufacturing.

The idea to donate the robots came from Jason Derryberry, a maintenance supervisor at Nissan's Canton plant and a graduate student at Alcorn. "I got tremendous encouragement and support from the Canton management team as we worked with Alcorn on this project," Derryberry said. "I'm excited because I work with similar technology every day, so I know what these robots will mean for the Alcorn program and my fellow students."

"Alcorn has a rich history and is leading the way to a brighter future for its students through its Advanced Technologies program," said Dan Bednarzyk, vice president of manufacturing for Nissan's Canton vehicle assembly plant. "These robots will be put to good educational use as the faculty trains the engineers of tomorrow. This contribution is one more way that Nissan is meeting its commitment to diversity, education and serving our community."

Faculty from Alcorn traveled to the Canton plant to receive the two robots (pictured). Nissan provided training and will provide continued support to teach faculty at Alcorn how to use the robots. Derryberry will be instrumental in installing the robots at the school, where they can be fitted with various attachments to perform welding, cutting, and other tasks.

"These two robots will give our students firsthand experience with the kind of technology used in Canton and other modern manufacturing facilities," says Dr. Kwabena Agyepong, chair of the Department of Advanced Technologies.

The Canton plant celebrates its tenth anniversary this year and has a payroll of over $200 million to more than 5,000 employees like Derryberry. The plant builds the Frontier pickup truck, NV full-sized commercial vans, the Xterra SUV, the Titan pickup, the Sentra and Altima sedans, and the Armada SUV. The plant will also be building the Murano beginning next year.