UMass Lowell launches computer science school with support from esteemed alumni
UMass Lowell will launch a new computer science school that will be named after prominent alumnus Rich Miner, co-founder of Android, the company and mobile operating system that was acquired and launched by Google.
University management had approached Miner, believing that her story and accomplishments would contribute to the vision they had for the new school. Today, the UMass Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the Richard A. Miner School of Computer & Information Sciences at UMass Lowell with a $5 million gift from Miner as well as a matching contribution of $2 million from the State.
“UMass Lowell’s new Richard A. Miner School of Computer and Information Science further elevates a well-known program for transformative education and pioneering research in the field,” said Chancellor of UMass Lowell. UMass Lowell, Jacquie Moloney. “We are deeply indebted to Rich. His latest gift reflects his continued generous donation of his time, expertise and resources to support students through entrepreneurial competitions like UMass Lowell’s DifferenceMaker and prepare them to be leaders in their careers. .
A beloved story
Miner, who holds three computer science degrees from UMass Lowell (BS 1986, MS 1989, Ph.D. 1997) exemplifies the university‘s longstanding investment and commitment to preparing students for the ever-changing industry. evolution.
Today, the department, elevated to school status with the vote of trustees, is home to nearly 1,600 undergraduate students and more than 300 graduate students, making it the largest university program on campus with nearly than 6% of the total undergraduate population at UMass Lowell. From fall 2016 to fall 2021, UMass Lowell undergraduate enrollment in computer science programs increased by more than 50%. This year, a record 12% of students in the UMass Lowell applicant pool listed computer science as their intended major.
UMass Lowell’s research spending on IT has grown in line with enrollment, from $2.7 million in 2016 to $4.4 million in 2021. health and more.
Miner co-founded Android, the world’s most popular operating system with over 3 billion users. After selling Android to Google in 2005 and launching early versions, Rich co-founded GV, Google’s first venture capital fund. GV has led investments in a number of the most successful startups of the past decade. In his role at GV, Rich has backed some of Massachusetts’ top startups, including Recorded Future, Toast, Hubspot, and Tamr.
As an undergraduate at UMass Lowell, Miner wrote computer programs for the Commodore 64, a first-generation gaming system. During his graduate years, his work with the university’s Center for Productivity Improvement paved the way for breakthroughs in imaging, video scanning and videoconferencing. In that same university lab, he helped incubate Avid Technology, the world’s first computer video editing platform. Later, he co-founded Wildfire Communications, the first voice-based personal assistant, patenting many concepts now common in voice assistants today. He considers his training at UMass Lowell key to his entrepreneurial success and believes his gift will help computer science students see how limitless their future is as they follow their passion.
“UMass Lowell has prepared me academically and entrepreneurially for a career where I have been able to contribute so many impactful innovations. I am honored to be able to give back in a way that could inspire others to meet or exceed their dreams,” Miner said.
Miner returned to UMass Lowell to share his story and mentor students, including those participating in the university’s Rist DifferenceMaker Institute, a program that provides training and opportunities in entrepreneurship. In 2012, he established the Professor Patrick D. Krolak Innovation Fellowship. Named for Miner’s mentor, a former UMass Lowell computer science faculty member admired for his collaborative approach to research, these scholarships are open to UMass Lowell computer science students.
The next generation
The establishment of the school exemplifies UMass Lowell’s commitment to providing computer science students with the academic coursework, laboratory research, cooperative education, and internship opportunities they need to succeed in this rapidly changing field. .
Housed within the university’s Kennedy College of Sciences, the Richard A. Miner School of Computer & Information Sciences offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs that combine applied and theoretical computational studies. The curriculum also includes options for minors in robotics, cybersecurity, data science, and bio-chemoinformatics. In partnership with the university’s Division of Graduate, Online, and Professional Studies, the school also offers certificates in Cyber Security, Systems Models, and Management and Telecommunications.
“The new Richard A. Miner School of Computer and Information Science is designed to provide educational and research opportunities to a diverse body of students and faculty. Together, they will make important discoveries and innovations that will address many of the challenges facing our world. In an increasingly interconnected world, the school will enlighten our future and reduce our uncertainties. We are grateful to Rich Miner for this opportunity to significantly expand the school,” said Kennedy College of Sciences Dean Noureddine Melikechi, Professor of Physics.
The university is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the fall to honor Miner and the new school.
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus at the heart of a global community. The university offers its students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell offers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning, and personal attention from top faculty and staff, preparing all graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the world. www.uml.edu