The University of Texas-Pan American is among 29 Hispanic-Serving Institutions nationwide recently awarded 15 computer workstations from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez represented Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) at an Oct. 18 presentation in Seattle by the Department of Commerce, which donated $5.4 million in information technology equipment to college campuses serving the largest concentrations of Hispanic and other minority students. He was joined by Bret Mann, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, and students Francisco Gonzalez, Nubia Flores and Efrain Eduardo Martinez.
Nevárez said the donation will benefit students at UTPA and other HSIs.
"The equipment you are donating to the University will enhance our students' academic education and their overall education experience," Nevárez said.
"The three students accompanying me all work part-time on campus providing technical assistance to local businesses, cities, counties and economic development corporations. The computers will be used to expand the technical assistance that these students and other students provide to the community."
The information technology equipment will be distributed among 82 minority colleges, including 29 historically black colleges and universities and 24 tribal colleges and universities.
The high-technology Dell workstations feature computers, servers, printers, cables and routers. They represent excess equipment from 520 temporary Census 2000 offices.
"Each year, being connected becomes more critical to economic and educational advancement and to community participation. That's why the technology donation is a big step in accelerating these institutions toward digital inclusion," said Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta.
The Commerce Department's Excess Equipment Donation Program is designed to provide students access to information technology in the 21st century. Recent studies show Hispanic and other minority populations trail non-minority populations in Internet and information technology access.
"The Commerce Department is directly addressing the information technology gap between minority and non-minority populations in this country," said Antonio Flores, president of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. "We applaud the leadership of Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta for taking this immediate, important step to help close that gap."
The giveaway comes in response to a 1996 Clinton initiative requiring federal agencies to donate excess supplies, manpower and technical assistance to schools and nonprofits, including colleges with largely minority student populations.