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Through the generosity of an estate gift of $1 million, an endowed professorship will be established in the Department of Computer Science at Michigan Technological University. An additional $500, 000 gift will provide postdoctoral fellowship support within the department.
The gift from Donn and Liza Schneider, of Green Bay, Wis., ensures their estate will provide $1 million to establish the Donn and Liza Schneider Endowed Professorship in Computer Science.
Min Song, chair of Computer Science, said the Schneiders’ contribution advances the mission of the department "to build a strong research and teaching environment that prepares students to learn, discover and innovate new knowledge in computer science." With computing being one of the fastest changing and influential disciplines, Song says it’s important for the department to conduct state-of-the-art research on a global scale.
“The Schneiders’ estate support will take a leading role in the educational and research programs of the CS Department and provide opportunities for CS faculty and students to conduct cutting-edge research, ” Song said. “The generosity of the donors will further help to promote the CS relationship with national and international communities."
Song said the Department of Computer Science's ability to attract and retain the best faculty, which in turn helps attract the best students, is key to the success of its mission. Permanently invested gifts from private donors are needed to help support competitive salaries, teaching technologies, research and other needs of top faculty.
The remainder of the estate gift, $500, 000, will be used to support postdoctoral fellowships in computer science. The names of Donn and Liza Schneider will be linked with all postdoctoral fellowships awarded from the estate gift fund.
Song said the fellowships are crucial to the success of the department. “Funding for postdoctoral fellowships is key to the success of the department, " he said. "They will substantially stimulate the intellectual growth of, and have a longstanding impact on, its academic programs.”
Liza Schneider said she, and her husband Donn, a Tech alumnus, wanted to make a gift that meant something.
“We don’t believe in charity, ” she said, “We believe in philanthropy.”
She said Donn was among some of the first graduates majoring in Computer Science at Michigan Tech, so the University, and the Department of Computer Science, in particular, have been on their radar for some time.
“We’ve been watching Michigan Tech over the last several years. It’s pretty obvious to us where the world-changing innovation is taking place, ” Liza Schneider said.
She said the money set aside for post-doctoral fellowships will encourage the best individuals to conduct important research.
“If you have cutting-edge research going on, the best students will find it, and subsequently those students will then be leading future research, ” she said.
“Good science breeds good science, ” Donn Schneider added.
The Schneiders’ endowment funds will be administered by the Michigan Tech Fund.
Michigan Technological University ( is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.
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