Submitted by Microsoft
The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) today announced a Technology Enhancement Capital Campaign (TECC) and partnerships valued at more than $130 million with Microsoft Corp., IBM Corp. and AT&T to bolster the technology infrastructures of UNCF member institutions and improve computer access for students and faculty members at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) nationwide.
TECC is a comprehensive effort aimed at reversing the disparity in computer technology between UNCF member institutions and majority institutions. Only 15 percent of students at UNCF institutions own a computer, compared with 55 percent of college students nationally. Less than half of the faculty at UNCF member institutions owns a computer, compared with 70 percent nationally. Furthermore, the number of network servers at UNCF institutions per 1,000 students is nearly half the number for colleges and universities nationally. Approximately 75 percent of the existing hardware at these institutions is obsolete or needs to be replaced.
The campaign will help modernize the technology platforms of UNCF member institutions by providing and upgrading the amount and quality of software and hardware at these institutions.
In response to the institutions' software needs, Microsoft is donating $50 million in software, reference and training materials to the 39 UNCF member institutions. The grant is customized to each institution, based on their individual and collective technology resource plans. It will strengthen administrative capacity and enable broader, more effective technology implementation in the classroom. The $50 million gift brings Microsoft's six-year support of UNCF to $75 million in cash and software donations.
"Making it possible to access, use and ultimately benefit from cutting-edge technologies is a critical part of the drive to enhance the educational excellence and workforce readiness of UNCF students," said Bob Herbold, executive vice president and COO of Microsoft. "UNCF and its member colleges are to be commended for establishing an aggressive, systemwide goal of using technology to improve the educational experience and work of its students, faculty and administration, a goal Microsoft is proud to support and a service we are honored to provide through this software gift."
IBM has agreed to provide access to technology equipment and services valued at more than $50 million. Under the program, UNCF member institutions, faculty members and students will acquire substantially discounted hardware, including servers, workstations, routers, switches, hubs and printers.
"IBM will partner with UNCF to set up an e-Bbusiness site where students, teachers and other institutions will collaborate on projects, share best practices and open up new education opportunities for UNCF students," said David Thomas, senior vice president and group executive, Personal Systems Group, IBM. "The new e-business site will also enable UNCF member institutions, faculty and students to acquire substantially discounted hardware, including servers, workstations and networking products."
The site will also allow approximately 100 HBCUs to obtain discounted laptop and desktop computers for faculty and staff members, and students. This will help more than 420,000 students attending HBCUs to own personal computers.
"We project that the value of the discounted hardware and software to be provided for students, faculty and administrators at HBCUs nationally over the next three years and e-commerce site activities will result in the provision of resources totaling at least $130 million," said Gray.
The TECC campaign has a faculty-development component that will receive support from AT&T, which is contributing $1 million dollars to the campaign. This component will help faculty members integrate information technology into their curriculum and assist them in strengthening their research and teaching techniques.
"UNCF has started a great program to bring technology to schools and train faculty in better ways to use the new information technologies in education," said John Zeglis, president of AT&T and chairman, AT&T Wireless Group. "I'm pleased to announce that AT&T will support the TECC program. AT&T and UNCF are going to continue working together to make the world worthy of our children, and to make sure our children have the educational tools they need to change the world."
The AT&T Foundation invests globally in projects that are at the intersection of community needs and AT&T's business interests. Emphasis is placed on programs that serve the needs of people in communities where AT&T has a significant business presence and initiatives that use technology in innovative ways. AT&T has a long history of support for the United Negro College Fund, giving a total of $42 million to the UNCF to date. This current grant reflects the goals of the AT&T Learning Network to help improve teaching and learning through the effective use of technology.
About the United Negro College Fund
The United Negro College Fund is the nation's oldest and most successful minority higher education assistance organization. UNCF has raised more than $1.4 billion to support its 39 member institutions and to administer more than 450 programs, including scholarships, mentoring programs, summer enrichment, study abroad, curriculum and faculty development, and leadership development.
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