June 17, 2024
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Cal Poly accepts $60M gift for applied computing

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A $60 million donation from the trust Robert N. Noyce will be enough to bring online the first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary school at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Announced May 8, the $60 million gift will go toward getting The Noyce School of Applied Computing online as soon as possible.

The idea of The Noyce School of Applied Computing was first announced in June of 2022, with the promise of a large endowment being made in the future to get the school up and running.

The school combines three departments — Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Software Engineering, and Computer Engineering — and will have the Statistics department join as an affiliate.

According to a press release, this school will ” pave the way for students and faculty using computer principles, concepts and technologies to address real-world problems.”

“Our students are going out into the leading-edge industrial companies,” Amy Fleischer, dean of Cal Poly’s College of Engineering, said in a press release. 

“They’re going to change the world, and the education that we’re going to provide here in the Noyce School will help them do that.”

The demand for graduates with an applied computing degree is far outpacing the supply, a Cal Poly press release noted.

Moreover, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts jobs in computing and information technology will climb 15% between 2021 and 2031 — much faster than the average for all occupations.

As such, investment in these fields is more critical than ever for both faculty and students.

According to the university, Software Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering accounted for 15% of recent applications to Cal Poly, and the number of applicants grows every year. 

The Noyce School will allow San Luis Obispo University to increase the number of qualified students accepted to these programs.

“Dr. Noyce’s legacy will inspire students and faculty to grow and be the next industry trailblazers,” Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong said in a press release. 

“Through this generous gift from the Robert N. Noyce Trust, Cal Poly will be able to educate more students to solve the challenges of tomorrow.”

The $60 million gift was made in honor of Robert N. Noyce, a co-founder of Intel and inventor of the integrated circuit, which fueled the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name.  

Nicknamed the “Mayor of Silicon Valley,” Noyce’s impact on the field of computing and society at large cannot be overstated, according to the press release.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Noyce’s legacy will be recognized and appreciated by the students and faculty at Cal Poly for generations to come,” Michael Groom, a trustee of the Robert N. Noyce Trust when the gift was established, said in a press release. 

“We believe the establishment of The Noyce School of Applied Computing comes at a pivotal time, when there is a major deficit of new graduates in the fields of computing and computer sciences, and the need and demand for these skilled workers remains very high.”

The school will be led by founding director Chris Lupo.

The $60 million gift is already being put to use as well, as Cal Poly has invested in state-of-the-art equipment for upgraded labs.  

Students will also have more opportunities for paid internships, opportunities to work with mentors and receive additional counseling along the way.

Faculty will be provided with additional resources for teaching and applied research, professional development and innovative and collaborative curriculum design, according to the press release.

email: jmercado@pacbiztimes.com