The U.S. Department of Education awarded St. Mary’s University $2.9 million to grow programs in the School of Science, Engineering, and Technology, the university announced Tuesday.

Last week, the university also received $1 million for STEM scholarships from alumnus Antonio Sanchez Jr., the executive chairman of the Houston-based Sanchez Oil & Gas Corp.

The federal funds came from a program dedicated to developing universities serving Hispanic students. More than 60 percent of St. Mary’s students are Hispanic or Latino.

“This significant federal grant greatly enhances our ability to continue responding to the demand for STEM education on our campus,” St. Mary’s President Thomas Mengler said.

Over the next five years, St. Mary’s University will use the $2.9 million in a variety of ways, including creating a drone concentration in the engineering science program, creating a construction management certificate, enhancing faculty professional development, and adding faculty members to STEM programs.

The university also plans to use the money to build a drone laboratory, redesign and launch the bachelor’s program in engineering management, and orchestrate student professional development with a focus on leadership and and postgraduate success.

“By further building out our educational offerings in the areas of drones, construction management and engineering management, the School will continue executing its mission of offering excellent and relevant programs for our students and our region,” said Winston Erevelles, dean of the School of Science, Engineering, and Technology.

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.