$10 Million Tenzer Technology Initiative

President Casey and TenzersDePauw President Brian W. Casey announced earlier this year that the University’s Board of Trustees accepted a $10 million gift from the Tenzer Family Foundation, founded by Lee Tenzer ’64 and Marilyn Tenzer. The gift will propel DePauw to the forefront of technology education in America, creating the signature Tenzer Technology Center and Visualization Laboratory, an engaging and visible high-tech space where students from all majors will develop advanced technology and computing skills.

In announcing the gift, Casey said, “On NPR in 1996, Steve Jobs said ‘In my perspective … science and computer science is a liberal art. It’s something everyone should know how to use, at least, and harness in their life. It’s not something that should be relegated to 5 percent of the population over in the corner. It’s something that everybody should be exposed to and everyone should have mastery of to some extent, and that’s how we viewed computation and these computation devices.’ 

“This new initiative and center is an extension of this vision,” Casey said. “It will impact every DePauw student and serve as a cutting-edge model for all liberal arts colleges.”

The Tenzer Technology Center and Visualization Laboratory will offer new programming and a visualization laboratory where students can sharpen their technology skills in areas such as spatial analysis, data visualization, 3D printing and digital media.

DePauw has begun a national search for a high-profile technology center director to develop programming and guide investments in state-of-the-art technology, bringing the Technology Center to the status of DePauw’s other signature programs and centers such as the Kathryn F. Hubbard Center for Student Engagement, the Robert C. McDermond Center for Management & Entrepreneurship, the Eugene S. Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media and the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics. 

The Tenzer initiative’s Technology Intern Program will expand upon DePauw’s Information Technology Associates Program (ITAP) to present a broad spectrum of technology-related training, research and internship opportunities for students with any major or career interest. Changes will enable all DePauw students to improve their technology skills in areas such as digital ethics, data visualization and technology entrepreneurialism. Internship examples include digital video production assistant, campus strategic communications intern, digital art researcher, smartphone application developer, digital music and recording specialist, among others. Additional enhancements include a high-profile technology speaker series and opportunity grants that empower students to complete summer technology projects in collaboration with faculty.

“It’s no longer the case that technologists just sort of sit in a corner and work by themselves,” said Dave Berque, DePauw’s dean of academic life and Herrick E.H. Greenleaf Professor of Computer Science. “They’re integrated into all of the other activities that are going on. And one of the things we’re going to be really strong at is producing students who are strong technologically and also have good problem-solving, critical reasoning, teamwork, writing, oral communication and quantitative reasoning skills.”

Strategic investments in equipment and software will enable all academic departments to offer new and enhanced courses that engage students in learning to use technology in meaningful ways. Investments will be made in assistive technology software and hardware to ensure that all students have equal access to DePauw’s educational and technology resources and to provide an opportunity for selected Tenzer Technology Associates to become specialists in assistive technology. 

The Tenzers’ gift will also increase the Founders Fund for Computer Science, recognizing the impact that Robert Thomas, professor emeritus of mathematics and computer science, had on the donor. This fund provides computer science students and faculty access to groundbreaking tools, supports project work that hones their skills, and sponsors programs that help computer science majors prepare for high-tech careers and graduate study. 

“This gift will help move DePauw University to the forefront of liberal arts universities in the nation,” President Casey said. “I continue to be moved by the commitment and passion of our alumni and Board of Trustees to provide our students and faculty with outstanding programs and spaces that allow them to be leaders and thinkers of consequence. Gifts like this will continue to live on and change how DePauw students live and work in an ever-changing landscape.”

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