New Endowment Will Create a Cloud Computing Center

CBA Receives $500,000 Gift

Anavade CEO Adam Warby and CBA Dean Rich Lapidus shaking hands

The College of Business Administration has received a $500,000 gift from Avanade, a global business technology solutions and managed services provider, which will transform hands-on learning opportunities for information technology students.

Avanade’s donation will support the Mitchell C. Hill Memorial Endowment, which aims to honor the memory of a distinguished graduate by launching a new academic center for applied business information technology, creating a student-managed cloud computing data center and developing other initiatives.

Cloud computing is an increasingly important technology, which students often lack exposure to during their academic careers. The new cloud computing center at Cal Poly Pomona will allow students to experience using cloud-based services firsthand, better preparing them for the technologies they will encounter in their post-graduate careers.

“Technology is constantly evolving, and if we want to stay current, we have to invest,” says University President Michael Ortiz. “This gift and the center it will fund are a key part of preparing our students to be workforce-ready well into the future.”

Avanade CEO Adam Warby envisions “an ecosystem” of ideas developing from the endowment and the university’s work with Avanade. “We see this donation not only as an investment in Cal Poly Pomona, but also as an investment in the future of technology innovation,” he says. “We’re honored to support the legacy of our former CEO, Mitch Hill with this gift. It’s encouraging to think we can help students come up with ideas to change the world through the cloud.”

Computer Information Systems Professor Ron Pike says the cloud data center will begin with a limited pool of CIS students and he hopes to see it eventually serve the entire campus. “We have a vision that our students are going to live and learn in the cloud,” he says. “From the day they show up to the day they graduate, we want them to build in this cloud environment from the ground up.”

Hill graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a CIS minor. In 2000, he became the founding CEO of Avanade. Under his leadership, Avanade grew to be a billion-dollar company with nearly 10,000 employees worldwide with an office in Irvine. Prior to his passing, Hill was selected as a Cal Poly Pomona Distinguished Alumni, accepting the award posthumously on April 25, 2014.

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