UC Irvine has received a gift from the Ted and Janice Smith Family Foundation to fund an endowed chair for the Department of Information and Computer Science. This endowment will support the department's growth and continued success in producing top-quality students and pioneering research programs.
The $1.5 million gift will establish the Ted and Janice Smith Family Foundation Chair in Information and Computer Science. Current department chair Debra J. Richardson will hold the endowed position, which eventually will transfer to subsequent chairs. The department is among the most honored in the nation, with recent recognition including high-tech magazine eWeek (formerly PC Week) naming UCI as one of the top 10 universities for information technology education.
"Ted and Janice Smith's generous gift will enable information and computer science to generate innovative research and produce talented graduates who support one of the most dynamic high-tech regions in the country," UCI Chancellor Ralph J. Cicerone said. "Their gift also brings a strong endorsement to information and computer science at UCI."
Ted Smith is the founder, retired chair and a member of the board of one of Orange County's leading technology companies, Costa Mesa-based FileNET Corp. (Nasdaq: FILE). FileNET was the first to bring commercial document imaging systems and workflow process management software to the market and is currently a leader in Web content management and Internet workflow. With 2000 revenues of approximately $400 million, FileNET is among the top 50 software companies in the United States and the largest in Southern California.
In addition, Smith has been active at UCI as the chair of the Information and Computer Science Chair's Advisory Board, as vice chair of the UCI Foundation and a member of the Chief Executive Roundtable. Janice Smith is active in the Orange County arts community, serving on the boards of the Bowers Museum and Pacific Symphony Orchestra and as chair of the John Wayne Airport Arts Commission.
"Information and computer science is one of the jewels of the UCI campus and the University of California system. This endowment is a way we can help ensure the department's long-term success as one of the top information technology educational programs in the nation," Ted Smith said. "A critical community priority is higher education, and the demand for computer scientists will continue to grow and be a catalyst to innovation and economic growth. This gift will help fill that demand."
"UCI always has been an important resource to the Orange County community. We take pride in being able to support one of its top-rated academic programs," Janice Smith said.
The Smith Foundation gift will enable the chair of information and computer science to support the academic unit's increase in students, faculty and research initiatives.
"This gift is a milestone for information and computer science," Richardson said. "As the department's first endowed chair, it will provide the chair holder with annual funds to enhance research and instructional programs. It's particularly fitting that this gift comes from Ted Smith, who is a pioneer and leader in the software industry in Orange County and a longtime advocate of the department and its mission: to advance information and computing technology through innovation and education."
Established in 1968, UCI's Department of Information and Computer Science is the largest computer science department in the University of California system. Information and computer science is UCI's fastest-growing undergraduate major, with an enrollment increase of more than 70 percent in the last two years. Its students have the highest mean SAT and GRE scores at UCI. In the department, 36 professors, 11 lecturers and 88 teaching assistants guide the work of nearly 1,400 undergraduate majors and 200 graduate students.
The establishment of the endowed chair is pending approval of the UCI Academic Senate and the UC Office of the President.