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UW-Eau Claire Receives $500,000
for the Computer Science Department

RELEASED: Oct. 16, 2006

David and Marilyn Karlgaard with Karlgaard Scholars
David and Marilyn Karlgaard, photographed with current UW-Eau Claire Karlgaard Scholars during a recent campus visit, have given a second $500,000 gift to support the university's computer science program, bringing to $5 million the couple's total gifts to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation since 2002. (UW-Eau Claire photo by Bill Hoepner)

EAU CLAIRE — A Virginia couple who gave a record $4.5 million to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2002 has donated another $500,000 to the university.

UW-Eau Claire alumni David and Marilyn Karlgaard made a $4.5 million gift at the start of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation's Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence campaign — a gift that's had tremendous impact on the university, especially the computer science department.

The Karlgaards, who are the national chairpersons of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation's campaign, said the good that has come from their initial gift has inspired them to give another $500,000 to the university as its first fundraising campaign nears its $50 million goal.

"Our experience with the computer science department and the students has confirmed our objective, which was to transform the department into one of the best in the region," David Karlgaard said. "We are pleased to extend our support to the Foundation and the department of computer science. We have enjoyed meeting all the students who we are supporting and we believe our contribution will make a major difference in their lives."

The Karlgaards' initial gift, the largest announced to date by a Wisconsin public regional university, established a $4 million charitable trust designated for the university. In addition, they gave $500,000 to establish the Karlgaard Excellence in Computer Science Program. The newest $500,000 gift will extend the excellence fund's initiatives.

The Karlgaards' generosity already has made a significant difference to the university and its students, said Carole Halberg, UW-Eau Claire Foundation president. Those benefiting the most directly are the 70 students who have received Karlgaard scholarships, which provide up to four years of full tuition and fees, she said.

"This additional $500,000 gift represents kindness that goes beyond words," Halberg said. "It's not possible to express just how much this will mean, especially to future Karlgaard scholars who will benefit from this extraordinary gift and the Karlgaards' thoughtfulness."

David Karlgaard, a Rice Lake native, graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1967 with degrees in math and physics. He was co-founder, CEO and president of PEC Solutions Inc., an Internet technology consulting firm headquartered in Fairfax, Va. which was acquired by Nortel Networks in 2005. He currently consults to Nortel, is on the board of directors of several companies in the Washington area, and also is an adjunct professor at The George Washington University. Marilyn Karlgaard, a Viroqua native, attended UW-Eau Claire from 1965-68. She is a retired human resource administrator.

There was no computer science major when David Karlgaard attended UW-Eau Claire, but the university has since developed strong programs in this field. David Karlgaard said he and his wife directed their initial gift to the computer science program because they wanted the department to grow.

"We wanted to see it become a superior program," Karlgaard said of the computer science department.

With the Karlgaard gift, the computer science department has strengthened its programs and its reputation, said Michael Wick, chair of the computer science department. The gift has enabled the department to reward faculty with annual stipends, attract and support top students through generous scholarships, and provide matching funds used to buy laboratory equipment to support the curriculum.

"Fueled by the Karlgaards' donation, the department was successful in attracting better students who in turn increased the educational experience for all computer science students," Wick said. "The generosity, vision and spirit of David and Marilyn Karlgaard have served to propel the department of computer science to a new level of excellence. With this latest commitment of support, the department is poised to become one of the premiere undergraduate computer science programs in the Midwest."

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KH

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