By Kathryn Mayer
In 2002, with their naming donation to The Newman Center for the Performing Arts, Robert and Judi Newman engaged the heart of the university, bringing together DU student musicians and performers with the larger Denver community.
Now, with their new gift—one bolstering the computer science program—the Newmans are hoping to further engage the minds and talents of University of Denver students.
Their generous gift helps fund the construction of the computer science floor in the new home of the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science.
Though well-known as art lovers, the Newmans are just as passionate about computer science, having both worked in the field for many years.
“We were both computer programmers and systems designers as well as managers of various technical groups,” says Robert Newman, a DU trustee and co-founder of J.D. Edwards & Co., a large Denver software company that is now part of Oracle Corporation.
“Computer science has been good for us, and we have seen immense progress in the field during our careers,” he says.
Their gift specifically will fund the department chair’s office, a visiting faculty suite, and 12 DU faculty offices on the new floor.
“The computer science floor helps satisfy a critical need for more lab and facility space for the rapidly expanding department,” says Judi Newman.
The Newmans will name the rooms after innovators in the field, “recognizing key contributors to the evolution of computing with a short biographical plaque at each office and study space.”
The hope, the Newmans say, is that the biographies will motivate students— in the sense that they will have role models in their field of study.
The Newmans say they admire DU’s hands-on, collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to engineering education and hope their gift helps the Ritchie School advance to a new level, establishing itself as a leader in some emerging area of information science.
“We are so impressed with what DU does for the community,” Robert Newman says. “The Newman Center project has succeeded way beyond our hopes and we are confident the engineering school project will follow suit.”
Through ASCEND Stories, we examine the impact that philanthropy has made on the lives of our students, faculty, alumni, and donors during ASCEND: The Campaign for the University of Denver.
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