Alumnus gives $1.25 million to College of Engineering

Doug Barber's donation will keep info technology experts at the U of S. The money may be going to the College of Engineering, but companies looking for qualified information technology (IT) graduates may be the real beneficiaries of a $1.25 million alumnus donation.

Douglas Barber, (BE.'59, MSc '60) gave the money to the college in early June to help establish the Barbhold Chair in Information Technology. As president and CEO of Gennum Corporations, an Ontario-based company which makes silicon chips, Barber has seen the shortage of qualified people first-hand.

His donation was partially motivated by his desire to find competent Canadian people for IT positions. The university will use only the interest from the capital donation to fund a rotating chair every five years. Applicants will be junior faculty members wishing to hold a university appointment. After the five-year term, they will pursue a tenure or tenure-track position.

The dean of engineering at the U of S says the money will make up for a lack of funding from the university. "The U of S is far behind any other university in terms of enhancing the IT area and, so far, IT has been rejected as an area of investment as part of the Priority Determination process. Fortunately, donations such as the one by Dr. Doug Barber provide a tremendous help to make up, at least partially, for the lack of wisdom of the university-wide collegial process. Engineering students will be better prepared to face the global challenges of the IT world and they will benefit the community and organizations for which they work," claims Franco Berruti.

Barber, too, sees it as a chance to keep qualified professionals in place to help groom new workers in IT. He claims that companies are forced to hire professors away from academia because there are too few qualified people in the field. This means academia is losing some of the brightest minds, and no one is left to develop the potential of future IT specialists.