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Stamford campus receives two major gifts for technology institute

The University of Connecticut has received two major gifts in support of the Connecticut Information Technology Institute at the Stamford campus.

Simon Canning, chief operating officer of SBC Warburg, a division of Swiss Bank, presented a $500,000 gift - the largest contribution to the CITI program from a corporation - to President Philip Austin on Wednesday. The gift will be matched by the state under the UConn 2000 program for a total of $862,000.

"CITI creates the mechanism for businesses to provide students and faculty with company-specific research projects or problems to solve during semester-long projects. Corporations such as SBC Warburg will benefit from the institute's new information technology focus," said Austin. "The University applauds the investment SBC Warburg has made already in the design of the CITI program and we look forward to a continuing relationship with them."

The CITI program is a joint partnership between UConn at Stamford, businesses, and community-technical colleges. Its goal is to develop Connecticut's labor force by establishing undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as customized training and courses that will meet the educational and technological needs of regional companies competing in global markets.

The SBC Warburg gift closely followed another major gift to the Stamford campus.

Frank D. Rich Jr. and Robert N. Rich have made a gift of $400,000, together with artwork from collections held by the Rich Foundation. The gift, to be used in the development of CITI, will be matched by the state, bringing the total including the value of the artwork to $1 million.

Given in recognition of a lifetime of involvement with UConn, the gift is the largest donation to the campus from a single family.

Frank Rich Jr. and Bob Rich, and their father, Frank Rich Sr., have been long-time supporters of UConn. Frank Rich, Sr., although he did not attend junior high school, often boasted that he was a UConn alumnus because he spent so much time at Storrs. His company constructed many of the buildings on the campus, including Wilbur Cross Building.

Frank D. Rich Jr. was a member of the Board of Trustees for 19 years, serving under four governors and five presidents. He was awarded the University Medal for his service to the University. He views his relationships with UConn and with Stamford as interconnected, having spent a large part of his life committed to each.

"I treasure the memory of my association with UConn," he said, "so it is particularly gratifying to have the physical presence of our wonderful University here in the downtown to remind me of an association from which I received so much more than I gave."

Robert N. Rich, a long-time leader in the urban redevelopment of Stamford, has devoted a major part of his life to enhancing the quality of life in the city and has supported the effort to make UConn an integral part of the city.

"The Stamford we have today became a reality because of a close relationship that grew into a true, if informal, partnership between the public and private sectors," he said. "The new Stamford campus is also a product of such a partnership. When the doors to this magnificent building open the University will be where it truly belongs - downtown. What could be a better resource for our quality of life than UConn?"

The two gifts bring the total the University has raised for the CITI program to $3.4 million, including matching funds. PJ