sealPurdue News

March 20, 2001

Ameritech gives $600,000 to management, technology schools

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Ameritech Foundation announced today (3/20) that it will contribute $600,000 in gifts to Purdue University over the next three years to support diversity, technology and student service initiatives.

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The Krannert School of Management will receive $350,000, and the computer technology department will receive $250,000.

"The grant is designed to strengthen and diversify the kinds of opportunities students in Indiana can pursue related to advanced high-tech learning," said George S. Fleetwood, Ameritech Indiana president.

"Ameritech is committed to helping today's youth, from all backgrounds, get the kind of quality education necessary for them to be successful in their careers."

Krannert School of Management gift

The Krannert School's Professor Cornell A. Bell Business Opportunity Program, a minority outreach effort, will receive $200,000 from the Ameritech Foundation. For more than 30 years, Bell has recruited minority students to the Krannert School, which has provided academic and financial support to hundreds of undergraduate and graduate management students.

The Business Opportunity Program, established in 1968, was one of the first programs of its kind. The program's goal is to recruit, enroll, educate and provide financial support for minority undergraduate and graduate students interested in management careers. Since its inception, the Business Opportunity Program has introduced more than 800 minority students to Purdue and helped them prepare for college studies.

"Thanks to Dr. Bell's efforts, the Krannert School has been a leader in providing opportunities for minority students, and Ameritech's generous gift will allow us to broaden our efforts and provide an even richer and more diverse environment for our students," said Richard A. Cosier, Krannert School dean and Leeds Professor of Management.

"We also recognize that our graduates will be employed in racially and culturally diverse, high-technology workplaces, so we strive to provide that kind of environment to all the students at the Krannert School."

Krannert will use $50,000 for its Center for E-business Education and Research and $100,000 for various service-learning initiatives that provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate management students to serve Indiana communities by performing volunteer work and doing citizenship education.

Krannert School students, in a 4-H-sponsored program called High Hopes, are working with Indianapolis school children in an after-school program at the Martin Luther King Community Center. One of aims of Ameritech's gift is helping to close at an early age what has been termed the "digital divide," the gap in computer skills between minority and white students.

John G. Pomery, an associate professor of economics who teaches service-learning classes that include participation in the High Hopes program, says his undergraduate students derive educational benefit from their service-learning activities.

"We try to get the students to look at economics and community in a wider way," he says. "We train students to question the starting point of any perceived way of doing things, whether it's economics, political science or particle physics."

"It is pleasing to see how our students reach out to the community," Cosier said. "Our master's students' Management Volunteer Program has been recognized as the nation's best MBA-level volunteer program."

The Krannert School of Management has 3,189 students that include undergraduates, professional master's degree and executive master's degree students and doctoral candidates. Business Week ranks Krannert's master's degree program 25th nationally. U.S. News and World Report ranks Krannert's undergraduate program 13th nationally. Computerworld ranked the Krannert School seventh in the nation for techno-MBAs in 1999.

Department of Computer Technology gift

The Ameritech Foundation is providing $250,000 in seed money to the computer technology department in Purdue's School of Technology to support the department’s undergraduate curriculum development activities, including a planned center for e-business.

"An increasing number of businesses, including many here in Indiana, are starting e-businesses or integrating an online presence into their existing business operations," said Don K. Gentry, dean of the School of Technology and special assistant to the president for economic development.

"The other side of the equation is that most students in computer technology and the School of Technology at Purdue come from Indiana and need the best and most up-to-date educational programs that lead to the good jobs of the present and future," Gentry said.

"Most e-business education is only beginning to be available at the undergraduate level," said Alka R. Harriger, professor of computer technology. "Our goal is to provide our students with hands-on experience in understanding what businesses need and educating undergraduates to create software and build total systems for successful e-business solutions. We are hopeful that other corporations will follow Ameritech's lead and become partners with us to create this new center."

The computer technology department will combine the Ameritech Foundation gift with Purdue funds to release faculty from teaching to do research, travel, training and conference presentations. "These kinds of experiences will better equip our faculty to deliver a leading-edge e-business curriculum to its students, industry partners and educators, both at Purdue and elsewhere," Harriger said.

Purdue's School of Technology, with an enrollment of 4,300, produces the most engineering technology bachelor's degrees among public institutions in the United States. Bachelor's degree graduates of Purdue's computer technology department had an average starting salary of almost $50,000 in 2000.

Ameritech and SBC

The Ameritech Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Ameritech and SBC Communications Inc., along with the SBC Foundation, address community needs in the areas of education, community economic development, health and human services, and culture and the arts.

Ameritech, with its parent company SBC Communications, is a leading provider of communications services in the upper Midwest, with nearly 20 million business and residential customers – more than 21 million access lines – across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Through its subsidiaries' brands – Southwestern Bell, Ameritech, Pacific Bell, SBC Telecom, Nevada Bell and SNET – and worldwide network, SBC and its affiliated companies provide local and long-distance service, wireless and data communications, paging, high-speed Internet access and messaging, cable and satellite television, security services and telecommunications equipment, as well as directory advertising and publishing.

In the United States, the company currently has 61.3 million access lines and is undertaking a national expansion program that will bring SBC service to an additional 30 markets. SBC has a 60 percent equity interest in Cingular Wireless, its joint venture with BellSouth, which serves 19 million wireless customers. Internationally, SBC has telecommunications investments in more than 20 companies and annual revenues that rank it among the largest Fortune 500 companies.

Sources: Richard A. Cosier, (765) 494-4366,

Don K. Gentry, (765) 494-2552,

John G. Pomery, (765) 494-4515,

Alka Harriger, (765) 494-2565,

Mike Marker, Ameritech media manager, (317) 254-8710,

Demetrice Burton, Martin Luther King Center teen coordinator, (317) 923-4581,

Yashekia L. Felder, Krannert School MBA student and Business Opportunities Program participant and spokesperson, (765) 495-7885,

Writer: J. Michael Lillich, (765) 494-2077,


Lindsay Hendricks, a Purdue University Krannert School of Management student, works with after-school students at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Indianapolis. As one of Purdue's service-learning efforts, Hendricks is taking part in the High Hopes Program, a 4-H-sponsored initiative in which college students help area students grow. Ameritech Foundation today (3/20) announced it will give Purdue $600,000, part of which will support such service-learning efforts. (News Service Photo by David Umberger)

A publication-quality photograph is available at the News Service Web site and at the ftp site. Photo ID: Sheahan.engmgmt

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