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UTPA one of 11 universities nationwide to receive Microsoft grant
By Julia Benitez Sullivan, Director of University Rel
381-2741
Posted: 02/16/2000
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REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 13, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced grants to 11 African-American and Hispanic universities across the country – the latest in the company’s long-standing effort to increase technology access for students of color.

The grants, totaling $440,000 in cash and more than $1 million in software*, will provide more than 150,000 students with benefits such as enhanced information technology curricula, distance learning opportunities and improved access to the Internet.

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), in coordination with Microsoft, selected the grant recipients.

African Americans and Hispanics continue to have less access to technology than their Anglo counterparts, which impedes their opportunities for success in the digital economy.

According to a recent U.S. Commerce Department study (“Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide”), Anglo households own computers at a rate roughly twice that of African-American and Hispanic households.

The Hispanic-serving institutions to receive funding include Barry University, Miami Shores, Fla.; New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, N.M.; St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas; Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas; and The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas.

“Technology access continues to be very limited for Hispanics, and this generous funding from Microsoft will help these universities provide top-of-the-line software to students,” said Dr. Antonio Flores, president of HACU. “Equal access to technology will help level the playing field for Hispanics in communities across the country.”

The University of Texas-Pan American will receive a $40,000 stipend and software that will support and enhance the university’s computer science program. In addition to benefiting UTPA students, the grant will increase opportunities for the surrounding community, said President Miguel A. Nevárez.

“We’re proud to have been one of the 11 institutions selected for this grant,” Nevárez said. “The Microsoft/HACU contribution not only benefits our students but will enhance our exemplary computer science program by allowing us to expand what we offer to high school and community college students and to public school teachers.”

According to Nevárez, high school students will benefit from concurrent enrollment and summer activities, community college students will be served through distance learning offerings and schoolteachers will benefit from its graduate studies program.

“Technological proficiency is an essential element of success today,” said Bruce Brooks, director of community affairs at Microsoft. “By coordinating efforts with these African-American and Hispanic-serving institutions, we can help ensure that students of color have equal access to the resources they need to accomplish great things in today’s social and economic marketplace.”

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities to receive funding include Huston-Tillotson College, Austin, Texas; Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, N.C.; Oakwood College, Huntsville, Ala; Paine College, Augusta, Ga.; Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas; and Tennessee State University, Nashville, Ten.

“Microsoft’s continued support for UNCF and other organizations assisting communities of color will help close this technology gap and empower students across the country to achieve their educational and personal goals,” said William H. Gray III, president and CEO of UNCF. “Equal access to technology is critical to the success of our nation today, and we are pleased that Microsoft is committed to this effort.”

Microsoft’s Efforts to Bridge the Digital Divide

For more than six years, Microsoft Corp. has been committed to helping bridge the digital divide and has created and supported a number of efforts designed to provide equal access to technology across the nation. In the past three years, Microsoft has given more than $173 million ($19 million in cash and $154 million in software*) to help thousands of organizations, including public libraries, colleges and universities, and community-based nonprofit agencies, provide technology access to underserved communities.

Through these efforts, millions of underprivileged individuals across the nation, from children in Boys & Girls Clubs to low-income students to Native Americans using technology to preserve their language and culture, now have access to technology and training.

Created in 1983, Microsoft’s community affairs program is one of the first philanthropic efforts in the high-tech industry.

The company’s worldwide charitable efforts are aimed at increasing access to technology for disadvantaged communities and supporting community organizations in the areas of education, human services, civic development, the arts and the environment.

Last year, Microsoft gave more than $25 million in cash and $79 million in software to more than 5,000 nonprofit organizations.

More information on Microsoft’s Giving Program, including its efforts to bridge the digital divide, are located at http://www.microsoft. com/giving/.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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