Harris Corp. Donates $400,000 to RIT for Campus Computer Engineering Design Center




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Harris Corp. presented a $400,000 gift to Rochester Institute of Technology during an Oct. 20 ceremony at the company’s RF Communications Division. The money will be used for the construction of the new Harris Corp. Computer Engineering Design Center, slated to open in 2007.

The Harris Corp. Computer Engineering Design Center will provide the resources needed to aid project teams in the design and development of prototype solutions for real-world problems. RIT’s computer engineering program has grown to 450 full-time students and emphasizes research and studies in computer hardware, embedded systems and critical applications.

“Harris recognizes the talent of RIT students and graduates, and we are committed to fostering the growth of technical education in our community,” says Dana Menhert, president, Harris RF Communications Division. “The new Design Center will enhance our region’s ability to remain competitive and help to cultivate our nation’s engineering talent.”

A portion of the $400,000 gift will provide key operational equipment for the electrical engineering department’s Radio and Space Science Lab. The funds will be applied toward the development of a satellite system launch platform and will support departmental research activities.

“The Kate Gleason College of Engineering is proud of the positive impact its engineering graduates have had on the vitality of Harris Corp., particularly through its Rochester-based RF Communications Division,” says Harvey Palmer, dean of RIT’s engineering college.

“This generous gift from Harris will make the RIT-Harris relationship even stronger, while supporting the college’s efforts to provide the highest-quality educational experiences available in the nation for students studying computer and electrical engineering.”

Additionally, $10,000 was presented to RIT’s Women in Engineering program, “WE@RIT,” an organization that focuses on providing programs for young women interested in pursuing a career in engineering. The gift will support the group’s goals, which focus on providing a supportive environment that allows women to succeed in an engineering program while increasing the pipeline of future potential women engineers. Initiatives include establishing outreach programs for female middle and high school students, creating and sustaining a mentoring program for RIT first- and second-year women engineering students, and providing them with leadership opportunities. Harris will sponsor a WE@RIT networking event in March 2007 that is anticipated to attract more than 100 middle and high school educators committed to creating a more diverse engineering workforce.

Harris Corp. currently employs nearly 350 RIT alumni and is one of the top nationwide employers of graduates from RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. The company also is the largest employer of RIT engineering co-op students, having hired more than 500 RIT co-ops since 1997. The funds were provided by the Harris Foundation, a corporate philanthropic organization that provides funding to quality educational venues, as well as civic, cultural, health and welfare organizations. Support from the Harris Foundation is provided to organizations through employee gift matching programs and direct contributions.

Note: Harris Corp. is an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. With headquarters in Melbourne, Fla., the company has annual sales of $3.5 billion and nearly 14,000 employees—including more than 6,000 engineers and scientists—dedicated to the development of best-in-class, assured communications products, systems, software and services. The company’s operating divisions serve markets for government communications, RF communications, broadcast communications and microwave communications. Additional information about Harris Corp. is available at www.harris.com.

RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering is among the nation’s top-ranked engineering colleges. The college offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in applied statistics, engineering science, and computer, electrical, industrial and systems, mechanical, and microelectronic engineering and a doctoral degree in microsystems engineering. Founded in 1829, RIT enrolls 15,500 students in more than 340 undergraduate and graduate programs. RIT has one of the nation’s oldest and largest cooperative education programs.