Colorado State Announces Largest-Ever Corporate Gift; Hewlett-Packard Grant to Help Better Prepare Students for High-Tech Industry

Colorado State University and the Hewlett-Packard Co. today announced the largest gift ever to the university from a corporation, part of a $2.5 million collaboration heralded as a model for improving high-tech workforce training.

The $2 million equipment grant from HP will be matched by a $500,000 purchase of equipment by the university. All told, the agreement will provide $2.5 million in state-of-the-art computer equipment for use in university classrooms and laboratories. This grant is the latest announcement as part of the ongoing Elevating Potential Campaign to renovate, expand and improve the use of technology at the Engineering Building on campus. The campaign also will provide for the creation of endowments in the College of Engineering.

The HP grant will allow the university to establish a large-scale, integrated computing environment for the new building. The new equipment will better simulate the high-tech working environment and improve the use of technology in the learning process.

Colorado State President Albert Yates said today’s announcement signals the latest development in a long-standing relationship with HP.

"Our relationship with Hewlett-Packard is one of the most important to us, to our faculty and to our students," Yates said. "It was HP employees who proposed this latest collaboration and it is HP employees who are frequently in our classrooms and our laboratories, working with our faculty to ensure that our graduates are prepared not only to survive in a high-technology world, but to thrive.

"The gift we announce today is significant not only for its generosity, but also for the real-world experiences this equipment will help provide to our students as part of their education."

The HP gift came as part of the company’s Recipient Enhanced Grant program, and Colorado State is the only university this year to receive such a grant from the industry leader, which has headquarters in California as well as operations in Fort Collins and throughout Colorado.

Denny Georg, Bob Perich, Mary Peery and Chris Christopher–general managers for the company in Northern Colorado who supported the grant proposal–said the gift is aimed at helping the university prepare students to enter the high-tech industry with the skills they will need.

"By closely replicating the real-world work environment, Colorado State engineering students, at all grade levels, will learn to work together in a team-oriented, collaborative problem-solving environment. This grant will significantly improve Colorado State’s ability to prepare students to meet the future hiring needs of technology companies like Hewlett-Packard," the managers wrote in their letter in support of the gift to HP’s University Grants Advisory Board, which oversees such gifts.

The HP grant is the latest in series of positive announcements from the engineering program at the university. The College of Engineering posted a record enrollment this year, up nearly 30 percent from last year. The department of electrical and computer engineering within the college experienced an even more significant jump in popularity this year, with freshman enrollment increasing by 42 percent.

The new Engineering Building has more than 20 undergraduate laboratories, 12 interactive classrooms, a multimedia theater/auditorium, two 1,250 square foot student study areas and two high-bay integrated laboratory complexes for collaborative learning.

"The goal is to have the students solve complex, multidisciplinary problems that are typical of the kind of problems students will see in the real world," said Ned Barnholt, chief executive officer of the new test and measurement company created earlier this month when HP split into two independent businesses. Barnholt was formerly the executive vice president and general manager of measurement organization at HP.

HP has been the university’s most generous corporate donor, giving more than $15 million to date. HP won the College of Engineering’s Corporate Enterprise Achievement Award in 1997. HP also collaborates with Colorado State in ongoing mentoring, scholarship and internship programs. More than 1,100 Colorado State alumni are employed by HP, and more than 100 HP employees are currently enrolled at Colorado State.