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The University Magazine

Harris gift creates engineering design center

Dean Harvey Palmer
Kate Gleason College of Engineering’s Dean Harvey Palmer, left, accepts a big check from Dana Menhert, president of Harris RF Communications.

A $400,000 gift from Harris Corp. will create the Harris Corp. Computer Engineering Design Center in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering.

The center will provide the resources needed to aid project teams in the development of prototype projects. 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 center enhances our region’s ability to remain competitive and helps to cultivate our nation ’s engineering talent.”

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

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 careers in engineering. 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 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.

Mike Saffran