Tom Erickson returned to campus to direct the new Faculty of Computer system, Info and Details Sciences

Tom Erickson returned to campus to direct the new Faculty of Computer system, Info and Details Sciences

The September 2021 announcement of a key fundraising campaign — which will include things like a state-of-the-art building — to enable launch the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s new School of Laptop or computer, Details and Facts Sciences, or CDIS, brought with each other an array of campus luminaries.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank was there that day at the Discovery Developing. So were being John and Tashia Morgridge, alumni who contributed a staggering $125 million to the new organization, and Erik Iverson, CEO of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, or WARF, which granted $50 million.

It’s fitting that the one particular ideal equipped to respect the working day in historic context — past getting prologue — was the new school’s founding director, Tom Erickson.

As the very first UW–Madison freshman at any time employed at the engineering building’s computer system lab, Erickson witnessed his future extra than 4 many years ago.

The lab was in the basement of the engineering building. This was the 1970s. Erickson basically realized computers — his significant school in Mondovi, Wisconsin, had a terminal joined to an early laptop or computer at the College of Wisconsin–River Falls.

But the vital was that Erickson’s desk in the engineering lab was following to an previous dot-matrix printer. All the graduate researchers arrived by for their printouts.

“I acquired to fulfill them,” Erickson states. “They have been applying these pc applications to clear up extremely intricate challenges that fairly frankly couldn’t be completed in any other case. It piqued my fascination and was persuasive to me, for confident.”

Erickson went on to a very productive entrepreneurial job in the tech business that took him all over the earth, most not too long ago to Boston at Acquia, a net written content administration program business that had 800 employees and around $175 million in once-a-year earnings when Erickson retired as CEO in 2017.

Tom Erickson1

Photo by Patrick Stutz

Now, for an encore, Erickson has arrive residence to Wisconsin, on the lookout to give back to the location wherever he got his begin.

“I really like the point out of Wisconsin and I enjoy the university,” he states. “It gave me an option I couldn’t have dreamed of.”

Erickson’s father ran a components retailer in Mondovi that was started out in 1905 by Erickson’s excellent-grandfather and is continue to operated by his sister.

Erickson absorbed the smaller-city values, accompanying his father on a pre-dawn farm take a look at to support a farmer who essential his water pump mounted to milk his cows. “You took care of each other,” he suggests.

But his father also shared stories of his far-flung Navy everyday living, as properly as pics and unique coins that stirred in his son a want to see the globe.

As a UW–Madison junior in electrical and laptop engineering, Erickson applied, unsuccessfully, for a cooperative schooling (outdoors the classroom) application in then-Yugoslavia. He had greater luck with multinational power big Chevron Corp.’s co-op plan, which took him to San Francisco.

Early on, he

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UMass Amherst receives $93 million to support computer sciences college

UMass Amherst receives  million to support computer sciences college


“The research and educational programming at the college will help sustain the Commonwealth’s edge in these important sectors.”

UMass Amherst Erin Clark/Globe Staff

UMass Amherst has just come into some major capital, and will use it to support its computing college and eventually double enrollment.

The state university just announced two colossal pieces of funding, totaling $93 million, to support UMass Amherst’s College of Information and Computer Sciences: $18 million from alums Robert and Donna Manning, and $75 million from the state administration. The university is also matching the state grant with a $30 million contribution.

The college has been renamed after the Mannings, and state funding will help the university develop a new facility and double enrollment, after it apparently had to turn away high-achieving students due to limited space and resources.

“The research and educational programming at the college will help sustain the Commonwealth’s edge in these important sectors,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement. “We are pleased to commit important capital resources, which will be paired by this generous donation from the Manning family and investments from UMass, to help the college train and educate the next generation of computer and information science professionals and deliver on its mission of ‘Computing for the Common Good.’”

According to the university, 53% of computing college graduates remain in Massachusetts for their careers and each graduating class contributes about $26 million to the tax base. A university spokesperson said the college’s vision of “computing for the common good” will prepare students to enter the tech sector to innovate solutions “to solve today and tomorrow’s challenges across key sectors.”

“I have been very focused on the ethical application of new technologies, which both enhance and complicate our lives,” Rob Manning said in a statement. “The future of computing will cure diseases and solve some of the world’s greatest challenges, but will also be incredibly disruptive, particularly to the workforce. The College…with its groundbreaking research and top-notch faculty, is well positioned to be a leader in building a framework for Computing for the Common Good.”

The newly-named Robert and Donna Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences became official — and began offering a bachelor’s degree – in 2010. Since then, it has grown enrollment by 320%, the university says, and attracts high-achieving talent to the Commonwealth. These investments are meant to do the same: attract top faculty, increase access to the program, and offer scholarships and mentoring. 

Dean Dr. Laura Haas has also created a diversity office, and set the goal of growing enrollment of women from 27% in 2021 to 40% by the end of the decade.

“These investments will allow us to continue our college’s trajectory from a small research center to a top-ranked college with more than 2,400 students today,” Haas said in a statement. “We’re proud of all the work we’ve done to educate a community of responsible innovators who are prepared to solve problems across academic disciplines leveraging computational thinking and technology.”


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