AT&T Foundation Gives $50,000 to UB School of Informatics to Support Development of Undergraduate Informatics Program

By Mary Cochrane

Release Date: June 19, 2003 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Demonstrating its ongoing support of the University at Buffalo School of Informatics, the AT&T Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to the school for the development of a new program supporting an undergraduate degree in informatics.

Accepting a check from representatives of the foundation, W. David Penniman, dean of the school, said today that AT&T "has enabled the School of Informatics to offer exciting new educational programs and technologies for training the next generation of information professionals, building a pipeline of professionals for tomorrow's workforce."

Earlier grants from AT&T, totaling $250,000, provided funding for the school's master of arts curriculum in informatics and support for the creation of an instructional-technology laboratory complex at the school that greatly enhances research in neural networking, data representation, decision theory, digital libraries and social networks.

The new grant will allow the school to build upon the success of its master's program by expanding the informatics concept to the undergraduate level.

"We are delighted to continue our support to the School of Informatics," said Kathleen Westover, vice president of sales for AT&T. "An undergraduate program in informatics will fulfill the need for students seeking access to information-technology careers. It also will provide AT&T additional opportunities to connect with promising young students, teachers and information professionals in Western New York."

Penniman said that planning for the undergraduate program in informatics is in the early stages and that he anticipates forwarding a proposal for the program to the State University of New York for approval in about one year. The undergraduate program will combine technical information with competencies in written and oral communication, interpersonal communication, critical thinking, project planning and execution, and team-based work. Technical coursework will include Web design, database management systems, statistics and computer programming.

Penniman added: "By making the field of informatics open to students with different objectives, backgrounds and interests, the information profession is increasingly likely to attract a more diverse workforce."

Part of the AT&T Foundation grant will support an outreach program to promote interest among high school students in pursuing educational opportunities and careers available in the information professions. The outreach program also will target women and minorities, two groups that are under-represented in the IT workforce, in the telecommunications field and within related academic-degree programs.

"It is clear that recruiting students at a younger age, as well as minorities, for the new undergraduate program is a crucial need and an important priority in planning additional informatics degree offerings," Penniman said.

AT&T ( is among the world's premier voice and data communications companies, serving consumers, businesses, and government. Public service and social responsibility are traditions deeply embedded at AT&T. The AT&T Foundation ( invests in projects that serve the needs of people in communities throughout the nation, particularly for initiatives that use technology in innovative ways and for programs in which AT&T employees are actively involved as contributors or volunteers.

The grant is part of "The Campaign for UB: Generation to Generation," which has a goal of $250 million and is in its final phase.