$2 Million Grant From McGowan Fund Creates RIT Telecommunications Center
May 4, 2004
by Michael Saffran
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centerpiece of RIT's new School of Engineering Technology Building
“This generous gift from the McGowan Fund fulfills the fund’s mission
of investing in promising, innovative fields.”
—Albert Simone, RIT president
Rochester Institute of Technology will create the most comprehensive center for telecommuni-cations education, research and scholarship in the nation, spurred by a $2 million grant from the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund.
RIT’s William G. McGowan Center for Telecommunications will be the centerpiece of a new 50,000-square-foot School of Engineering Technology Building, part of RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology, the university’s college of innovation. The building will also include the McGowan Student Commons, a three-story, 7,000-square-foot main entrance and gathering space for students and special events.
The telecommunications center will bring students, university and high school faculty, and working professionals together for collaborative learning, research and teaching. The center will house the telecommunications system lab, featuring the most advanced curriculum and equipment in the nation; the optoelectronics lab; the K-12 networking lab and “smart” classrooms. The $2 million McGowan grant, a challenge grant, will fund two-thirds of the cost of the telecom center.
“The grant is a great honor in the name of a true pioneer in the telecommunications field,” says Wiley McKinzie, dean of RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology. “It’s the keystone gift for the School of Engineering Technology Building.”
The new building will be home to RIT programs in electrical, computer and telecommunications engineering technology; civil engineering technology/environmental management and safety; and manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology/packaging science. It will also house RIT’s Center for Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly and the National Technology Training Center, where high school teachers train in engineering technology curricula through Project Lead the Way and the Cisco Networking Academy. It will be a center for students to gather from RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology, B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, Kate Gleason College of Engineering and Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies.
“The board of directors of the McGowan Charitable Fund is pleased to be able to join with RIT in the creation of this unique and needed telecommunications center named after our founder, Bill McGowan,” says Monsignor Andrew McGowan, chairman of the fund and brother of the late William McGowan. “It will help fulfill the vision Bill had for the entire telecommunications field and will, for years to come, advance research and learning in this important industry.”
William McGowan was a pioneer in the telecommunications field. He founded MCI Communi-cations Corp. in 1968 and led the company until his death in 1992. His vision helped shape RIT’s telecommunications engineering technology program when, at an MCI-sponsored conference in 1985, he urged universities to prepare a workforce for the rapidly changing telecom industry by stressing technology, public policy and marketing.
“This generous gift from the McGowan Fund is a legacy to Bill McGowan’s vision of support for our nation’s young and fulfills the fund’s mission of investing in promising, innovative fields,” says RIT President Albert Simone.
“The telecom field is dynamic and resilient,” adds Carol Richardson, professor and chair of RIT’s electrical, computer and telecommunications engineering technology program. “RIT is seeing growth in the number of permanent and cooperative educational opportunities for our telecom students.”
The U.S. Labor Department forecasts rapid expansion of skilled positions in the telecommuni-cations field through 2012, resulting from increased demand for greater capacity—or bandwidth—in telecom networks. Also spurring growth are expanding global markets, rapid expansion into areas such as wireless networks and fiber optics, changes in government regulation and security, and demand for technologically savvy managers in a consolidated marketplace.
RIT’s telecommunications engineering technology undergraduate program was the first accredited program of its kind in the nation when it was launched in 1989. Today, it is one of only four such programs in the U.S. It features technical and management tracks and certificate programs, all available on campus and online. Last year, RIT began a master’s degree program in telecommunications engineering technology, the first of its kind in the nation.
The grant is the largest to RIT from the Washington, D.C.-based William G. McGowan Charitable Fund Inc. and among the fund’s largest to any institution. Founded in 1992 by William McGowan, the fund has provided RIT with more than $100,000 in business scholarships.
Note:For more information on RIT’s telecommunications engineering technology program, visit http://www.rit.edu/~706www/new/index.php3. For more information on the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, visit http://www.mcgowanfund.org.
Enrollment: 3,668 (3,291 undergraduate, 377 graduate)
Number of faculty: 74
New School of Engineering Technology Building: The $8 million, 50,000-square-foot building will include the 13,100-square-foot William G. McGowan Center for Telecommunications, the most comprehensive center for telecommunications study in the nation, featuring labs, “smart classrooms” and McGowan Student Commons.
William G. McGowan Charitable Fund support to RIT: 2004: $2 million challenge grant creating William G. McGowan Center for Telecommunications and McGowan Student Commons; 2001-2004: more than $100,000 for business scholarships (Web site: http://www.mcgowanfund.org)
College summary: RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology, the college of innovation, offers 31 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and 30 certificates and diplomas emphasizing technology, service management and multidisciplinary studies. RIT offered the first accredited undergraduate degree in telecommunications engineering technology in the nation. Areas of study include:
- Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering Technology
- Manufacturing and Mechanical engineering Technology/Packaging Science
- Civil engineering Technology/Environmental Management and Safety
- Hospitality and Service Management
- Multidisciplinary Studies
- Army/Air Force ROTC
The college is home to the Center for Electronic Manufacturing and Assembly, the National Technology Training Center (including Project Lead the Way and Cisco Networking Academy), Army ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) and Air Force ROTC. The college leads the university in lifelong, corporate and outreach education, online learning and international studies, including programs taught at the American College of Management and Technology in Croatia, at the American University in Kosovo and in the Dominican Republic. The college is home to the world’s only university-level course in space tourism development and its packaging science degree program is one of only six in the nation.
Dean: Wiley McKinzie (since 1988)
Web site: http://www.rit.edu/CAST