This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield Hall 218
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
Cargill Donates $85,000 to UW-Eau Claire
For Telecommunications Lab
phone (715) 836-4741
fax (715) 836-2900

MAILED: Feb. 9, 2000

EAU CLAIRE — Business and computer science students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire soon will use the most sophisticated telecommunications lab in the upper Midwest thanks to an $85,000 gift from Cargill and $40,000 from the state of Wisconsin.
"The integrated lab will be a hands-on environment where students can explore performance and design issues, and create a network similar to what they will find in a corporate environment," said V. Thomas Dock, dean of the College of Business.
The telecommunications lab will stress the fundamentals of multimedia (voice, video and data) networking in four business telecommunications and management information systems courses. By directly working with industry standard networking hardware and software, students will be better prepared for careers in telecommunications and management information systems, Dock said.
UW-Eau Claire plans to make the Cargill Telecommunications Lab available to students by the spring semester of the 2000-2001 academic year.
"Cargill views UW-Eau Claire as an outstanding source for high potential employees interested in careers in telecommunications and information technology," said Lloyd Taylor, corporate vice president for Information Technology at Cargill. "This new telecommunications lab will complement an already strong MIS program at UW-Eau Claire. By providing students with hands-on experience with state-of-the-art networking infrastructure, UW-Eau Claire will offer a curriculum hard to match among other business schools in the upper Midwest."
Telecommunications is a critically important component of information systems, said John Melrose, acting chair of the MIS department. If students are to perform in an environment so heavily dependent on network-based communications and interactive media, they must receive appropriate education while pursuing a degree.
"The Cargill Telecommunications Lab is an essential addition to our MIS program," Melrose said, noting that UW-Eau Claire MIS students receive a solid business background with a strong technical focus. "Our students will be able to apply their knowledge through hands-on experience analyzing, designing, building and troubleshooting networks."
In the new lab, UW-Eau Claire students will gain experience in key areas that are fundamental to all areas of information technology, said David Staloch, a UW-Eau Claire alumnus and Cargill corporate recruiter.
"This curriculum provides students with a base of understanding of fundamental concepts that are not always included in a standard MIS program," Staloch said. "These concepts can be applied at Cargill and they provide for an education that is well-rounded in terms of programming, analysis and technical coursework."
To meet the needs of the business community, UW-Eau Claire developed a telecommunications minor, which is one of the most comprehensive programs in the upper Midwest, Dock said, adding that the current telecommunications lab needs to be upgraded in order to expose students to more sophisticated telecommunications-based problem solving.
"Computer science students will benefit from hands-on, practical exposure to state-of-the-art networking telecommunications hardware and software," Dr. Andrew Phillips, chair of UW-Eau Claire's computer science department, said, noting that some 60 computer science students will use the telecommunications lab each year. "Our already strong program in software engineering and systems will be greatly enhanced by this unusual regional resource."
This grant is made available through Cargill's Higher Education Initiative designed to help build mutually beneficial partnerships between Cargill and select universities. Since 1997, Cargill has committed $235,000 to UW-Eau Claire through this initiative, including support for the Cargill Technology Center, which opened in 1999.
Cargill is an international marketer, processor and distributor of agricultural, food, financial and industrial products with some 82,000 employees in 59 countries.

UWEC [Administrative Offices] [News Bureau]

Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 218
(715) 836-4741

Updated: Feb. 9, 2000