Auburn, Ala. (EETV) - Delta Air Lines, Delta Air Lines Foundation, and the Jacobson Family Foundation gave $6.2 million to support numerous programs at Auburn University during an event at the Auburn University Regional Airport on Friday. 

This grant will fund the expansion of the Delta Air Lines Aviation Education Building and the University's Radio-Frequency Identification, also known as RFID Lab. Auburn is the leading academic institution for RFID technology, conducting research on how specialized sensor technologies can have an impact on industries, including aviation, retail supply chain, and manufacturing. This will also fund a new student leadership development program, called Emerge at Auburn.  

Delta's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Paul Jacobson stated, "We are proud to partner with Auburn University's aviation education program, the RFID Lab and Emerge at Auburn." 

The construction of the Delta Air Lines Aviation Education Building will be completed for fall 2018 classes. This 23,000-square-foot building will provide state of the art flight simulators, technology-enhanced classrooms, faculty offices and meeting spaces for faculty and students.

"Delta is revolutionizing the way we teach aviation at Auburn," said Bill Hutto, interim chair of Auburn's Department of Professional Flight and Aviation Management. "We will see the impact of their gift for decades."

This gift will provide a dedicated Delta Air Lines Aviation Sensor ID Bay to facilitate research and create an experiential learning center that will include executive, student and industry teaching capabilities in the RFID Lab. This funding will also establish resources for an aerospace consortium sponsored by Delta and create aerospace-focused student and faculty positions within the lab. 

"We deeply appreciate Delta's trust in Auburn's research leadership and faith in our students," said Justin Patton, RFID lab director. "This gift allows us to serve the aviation industry with research and advancements in maintenance and safety history, tracking passenger baggage and overall, in making air travel safer and more efficient."

In addition to the expanding of programs, Delta's gift will support a monthly speaker series as part of the new Emerge program at Auburn. 

"This grant and partnership will help ensure an exceptional aviation education through technology, research, and innovation for students, and supports our commitment to enhancing education as a key pillar of our community engagement efforts. We know firsthand how capable Auburn graduates are and look forward to a future with Auburn in which truly, the sky is the limit." Jacobson said.