Nissan Donates Robots to Alcorn State University Technology Program

  • Print
  • Download

CANTON, Miss. – Students in the Advanced Technologies program at Alcorn State University will have two new classmates this summer as the school receives a pair of high-tech robots from Nissan's Canton, Miss. vehicle assembly plant.

"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."

Alcorn, a historically black university in Lorman, Miss., offers a degree program in robotics and automation technology. Alcorn students will learn how to program and operate the robots as they prepare for careers in manufacturing and technology industries. The idea to contribute the robots originated from Nissan Canton employee and current Alcorn student Jason Derryberry, who joined Nissan in 2004 as a maintenance technician and is now a maintenance supervisor. He will finish his degree in applied science 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 leaders and faculty traveled from Lorman to Canton onMarch 21 to receive the two robots, which stand more than five feet tall and weigh approximately 815 pounds each. The instructors also learned how to program and operate the robots, which Nissan previously used to arc weld auto bodies. The robots can be programmed and fitted with attachments to perform welding and other tasks in the Alcorn robotics lab. Derryberry plans to stay involved by helping students install the robots.

"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. "With this gift, Nissan is strengthening its partnership with Alcorn. The Department of Advanced Technologies thanks Nissan for supporting Alcorn's mission of providing world-class curricula and training designed to prepare superior practitioners, managers and leaders in the field of Robotics and Automation Technology."

The Canton vehicle assembly plant is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013 and employs more than 5,000 people with an annual payroll in excess of $200 million. Nissan has announced plans to move assembly of the next-generation Nissan Murano to Canton from Japan beginning in 2014. Canton employees currently build the award-winning Altima, Armada full-size SUV, Xterra mid-size SUV, Titan and Frontier pickup trucks, and NV full-size commercial cargo and passenger vans. Canton will also begin building the all-new Sentra compact sedan in 2013.

About Alcorn State University
Alcorn State University is a premier comprehensive land-grant university that develops diverse students into globally-competitive leaders, and applies scientific research through collaborative partnerships that benefit the surrounding communities, state, nation, and world.

About Nissan
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 248,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4.9 million vehicles in 2012, generating revenue of 9.4 trillion yen ($US118.95 billion) in fiscal 2011. With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of 64 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero-emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades, including the prestigious 2011-2012 Car of the Year Japan and 2011 World Car of the Year awards.

For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at

About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and, or visit the Americas media sites and



# # #


Media Contact:

Camille Young
Nissan North America
(601) 594-0945

Clara Ross Stamps
Vice President for Media Relations
Alcorn State University
(601) 877-6131

Back to Top

Issued by Nissan