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UI Partners with Software Giant, Receives Funds for Initiatives

Microsoft Corp. has selected the University of Iowa as one of only 54 colleges and universities nationwide to be a partner in its Microsoft Research University Relations group, UI Foundation officials announced today.

In connection with the partnership program, Microsoft gave more than $700,000 in cash and in-kind gifts from August 2000 through June 2001 to programs in the UI colleges of business, engineering, and liberal arts and science; to the UI's Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program; and to the UI's Information Technology Services. (A complete listing of these Microsoft gifts to the University of Iowa are at the end of this release.)

Microsoft says the goal of its partnership program, run by its Microsoft Research division, is to enhance the teaching and learning experience of students and faculty at member institutions and to collaborate with university researchers in exploring the dramatic changes occurring in the computer world.

Microsoft Research support allows UI students and faculty to work with the company's latest software products. Faculty members also benefit by attending annual conferences with researchers from other participating partner schools.

Robert Reed, a program manager with Microsoft University Relations, said, "Microsoft's academic partnerships enhance learning, creating a win-win experience for University of Iowa students, faculty and Microsoft Research. A strong relationship with the UI will help to inspire technological innovations that benefit the business community and society as a whole."

The UI computer science department received Microsoft support totaling more than $240,000. Steve Bruell, professor of computer science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said the support affirms the company's mission to increase understanding and innovation through academic-corporate partnerships.

"Microsoft has made tremendous commitments to Iowa and others to advance business and industry through these cooperative ventures that increase exposure to computer technologies curriculum," Bruell said.

"Membership in the Microsoft partnership allows the UI to run computer systems parallel with the business world. These key relationships provide our students a real-world experience and give them a strategic competitive advantage, increasing their career opportunities when they graduate," Bruell said, adding that more than 50 UI students have completed Microsoft summer internships and were subsequently hired for full-time employment.

The UI Tippie College of Business has received more than $320,000 in Microsoft products for use by faculty and in student labs and classrooms. Robert Forsythe, senior associate dean and a director of the UI Tippie College of Business Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM), said Microsoft software supports many functions for the IEM, from running the web server to providing database software that handles traders' accounts. The IEM, an on-line futures market operated by UI business faculty as a teaching and research tool, allows UI students to invest smaller amounts of money ($5 to $500) to predict the outcomes of economic and political events such as elections.

"Microsoft's gift to IEM, along with financial support from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and Nasdaq, is helping the University of Iowa partner with other colleges and universities with significant populations of at-risk students by providing resources to successfully integrate the Iowa Electronic Markets into their curriculum," Forsythe said.

Microsoft support also benefits the UI Tippie College of Business' Computing Service Organization (CSO), a computing and technology service for faculty, staff and students. Business students enrolled in management information systems courses gain valuable knowledge and first-hand experience through CSO.

A series of in-kind gifts valued at $168,000 was used to update computer equipment in the mechanical engineering department, the Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD) and other areas in the UI College of Engineering. Professor K. K. Choi said Microsoft's gift allows CCAD to have a homogeneous computing environment.

"This benefits students, faculty and staff by giving us a consistent user interface and compatible document formats for research," Choi said.

Microsoft Corporation has generously supported numerous programs at the UI through the UI Foundation, the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the university. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to generate funds for scholarships, professorships, facilities improvements, equipment purchases, research and other UI initiatives.

* * *

Microsoft gifts to the University of Iowa Foundation from August 2000 through June 2001

College of Business $323,390

College of Engineering $168,000

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences:

Computer Science $242,652 Physiology $4,531 WISE $8,000

UI Information Technology Services $8,750


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