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Alumni Gift Names New Computer Science and Engineering Laboratory

Laboratory to provide vibrant atmosphere fostering collaboration and innovation

By Sue Hofmann

Release Date: May 18, 2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Gina Bronkie Hammond, who received a master's degree in computer science and engineering (CSE) from the University at Buffalo in 1973, has given a generous gift of $150,000 to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in support of a new high-tech flagship engineering building.

In recognition of her generosity, UB will name a graduate/undergraduate CSE laboratory the Gina Bronkie Hammond Laboratory. The gift reflects Hammond's confidence in the future of UB Engineering and its vision to attract the top students and faculty and pursue new partnerships, innovations and research opportunities that will impact positively the region, state and beyond.

"I originally thought I would become a math teacher, but fell in love with computers," says Hammond, a vice president at Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE: CSC) who manages CSC's GWAC (Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts) Service Center. "The new lab is an ideal match for me: an improved teaching space for top-notch students and faculty that's fully equipped with new technology. It's an exciting opportunity."

The new building will modernize programs and facilities for the departments of computer science and engineering and electrical engineering. The planned 130,000-square-foot structure on UB's North (Amherst) Campus will boast a "clean room" for intricate work with nanodevices; a "cybertorium" with sophisticated communications devices and smart technology; and flexible research labs, classrooms and meeting areas for interdisciplinary work. The facility will allow UB to use existing buildings to expand both enrollment and high-demand fields like bioengineering. These goals are aligned with the UB 2020 strategic plan, which aims to grow UB by 40 percent and to invest in areas of strategic strengths such as information and computing technology and integrated nanostructured systems.

New York State has embraced the engineering school's vision, providing $49.6 million toward the $73 million to build the structure. UB Engineering is engaged in a fundraising effort to generate the remaining $23 million in private funds.

"Gina Hammond has built an enviable career working on the leading edge of the computer science and engineering industry and the new Hammond Lab will reflect her pioneering spirit," says Harvey G. Stenger Jr., dean of the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "The lab will keep UB at the head of the field, fostering faculty and student research, spawning new ideas and technologies and preparing UB graduates to follow in Gina's footsteps and lead the next generation of highly skilled computer scientists and engineers."

Hammond, who was born and raised in Williamsville, joined UB as part of a small group of exceptional women pursuing educational opportunities in computer science and engineering. She earned a generous graduate fellowship from UB, "never paying a penny for my master's degree," she says, and juggled a job with academics.

After graduation, she joined the burgeoning computer science field, serving in increasingly more responsible positions at Marine Midland Bank, Vanguard Technologies, CBIS Federal, DynCorp and Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC).

Among her many responsibilities as a vice president at CSC are bidding and executing task order contracts for the federal government. Hammond has more than 30 years of automated data processing experience in programming, systems analysis, task management, consulting and contract management.

Hammond is a generous philanthropist and volunteer, contributing to UB and to her undergraduate alma mater, Vassar College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1970. She is actively involved in the Episcopal Church, where her husband, the Rev. James A. Hammond, is a rector at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Remington, Va., and a priest in charge at Christ Episcopal Church in Brandy Station, Va. The Hammonds reside in Warrenton, Va. Gina Hammond maintains strong ties to the Western New York community and has family who reside in the area. Her late father, Robert Bronkie, served as executive engineer for the Erie County Water Authority.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. UB's more than 27,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.