Penn State Pit Stop

Penn State welcomed four-time NASCAR Cup Champion Jeff Gordon to campus on April 14 to kick off a partnership between the University and Axalta Coating Systems.

A new partnership between Penn State and Axalta Coating Systems, a leading manufacturer of liquid and powder coatings based in Philadelphia, is designed to drive awareness and support for STEM and business education. 

Jeff Gordon, Axalta CEO, and Penn State president unveil the Number 24 car's new paint job.

Jeff Gordon helps unveil Axalta - Penn State paint job

NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, center, with Axalta CEO Charlie Shaver and Penn State President Eric Barron, unveiled the new Penn State-Axalta car on the afternoon of April 14. Gordon visited the University Park campus to introduce the car, adorned with the familiar 24, and decorated in Penn State blue and white.

Image: Patrick Mansell

Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and spectators came out to welcome Penn State President Eric Barron, Axalta representatives, and Jeff Gordon in celebration of the partnership, which will offer new educational opportunities to students in engineering and business disciplines. 

"It is crucial to many industries, including Axalta's, to have access to skilled engineers and business leaders, and Penn State is providing the specialized programs needed to prepare them for the future."—Charlie Shaver, Axalta, Chairman and CEO

Charlie Shaver, Axalta Chairman and CEO, says he's excited for the partnership's opportunity to show the impact of engineering and business on racing. "I have a personal drive to recruit the best and brightest people and get them excited about what we do for a living," he said. 

The Nittany Lion and Jeff Gordon pose in front of the No. 24 car.

Jeff Gordon with the Nittany Lion

NASCAR veteran Jeff Gordon was greeted by the Nittany Lion when he arrived at Penn State's Berkey Creamery for a celebration on the afternoon of April 14. Gordon visited the University Park campus to unveil the new, blue and white, Penn State car, slated to appear at the Pocono Raceway in the June 7 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the "Axalta 'We Paint Winners' 400."

Image: Patrick Mansell

Select students in Penn State's College of Engineering and Smeal College of Business will receive special learning opportunities with Jeff Gordon and his team at Pocono Raceway. The contingent of students will be on hand at the raceway during the weekend of June 6, where they will have a chance to tour the garages and learn more about the technology of the cars. 

"Supporting STEM education and future business leaders is vital to our future. I'm proud to partner with Axalta and Penn State on this exciting program."—Jeff Gordon

In addition, they'll attend a presentation session with Alan Gustafson, Gordon's crew chief, and have dinner with Axalta executives and Gordon. 

These students will be able to experience up close the impact engineers have on racing and will receive insights and firsthand perspectives from business leaders. 

Jeff Gordon, Axalta CEO, the Penn State president, and Smeal College of Business dean view No. 24 replica car with Penn State-Axalta paint job.

President Barron receives a No. 24 car replica

A small replica of the No. 24 car, with its Axalta-Penn State paint job, celebrates the partnership between the University and the Philadelphia-based coatings company. Pictured with the car include driver Jeff Gordon, Penn State President Eric Barron, Axalta CEO Charlie Shaver, and Dean Charles Whiteman of the Smeal College of Business.

Image: Michelle Bixby

"Helping students toward career success is of critical importance to the Penn State experience, and partnerships such as this are another way of giving our students special, hands-on opportunities to learn about their fields of study and the job market."—Penn State President Eric Barron

A four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, three-time Daytona 500 winner, and five-time Brickyard 400 champion, Gordon has also been a champion of STEM education for many years. 

College is a valuable experience, says Gordon—one through which students can build both skill sets and relationships. "There's a lot of bright futures around here," he said to the crowd gathered at the Creamery celebration on April 14. "I couldn't be more thrilled to carry that unique blue on the No. 24 race car." 

"This kind of exposure definitely adds to the value of STEM education, and unique experiences such as these are what make college life come alive."—Olga Vinogradova

The No. 24 car in Penn State blue and white will also be on display at the Nittany Lions' Blue White Game on Saturday, April 18.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to carry that unique blue on the No. 24 race car."—Jeff Gordon

About Axalta Coating Systems

Axalta is a global company focused on coatings and providing customers with innovative and sustainable solutions. From light OEM vehicles, automotive refinish, and commercial vehicles to electric motors, buildings, and pipelines, Axalta coatings are designed to prevent corrosion, increase productivity, and enable the coated materials to last longer. With more than 145 years of experience in the coatings industry, the 12,000 people of Axalta serve more than 120,000 customers in 130 countries. For more information, visit http://www.axaltacoatingsystems.com.