The O’Donnell Foundation committed a $9.3 million gift to the UT Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences to support the program’s students and faculty.
The institute’s graduate program, ICES Computational Science, Engineering and Mathematics Graduate Studies, allows students to pursue a multidisciplinary computational science degree that includes faculty and subjects from 18 different departments.
The donation will be used over the next five years to fund three areas. A $3 million portion of the grant will go to the creation of 12 additional graduate student fellowships, bringing the program total to 34 students. Another $1.3 million is designated for faculty support. The final $5 million will support faculty recruitment efforts to improve the quality of instruction for the program.
Since 1983, Peter O’Donnell, his wife Edith and the O’Donnell Foundation have given more than $135 million to the University. Peter O’Donnell has worked with the institute director, Tinsley Oden, for more than 20 years and said he considers Oden an inspired leader.
“His vision for the potential of computational simulation and modeling was my inspiration to support his work and that of his colleagues,” O’Donnell said. “[What is] very important to me is the fact that the ICES faculty is preparing the next generation of young computational leaders who will continue the work toward discoveries to improve every aspect of our lives.”
Robert Moser, the institute’s deputy director and professor, said he is looking forward to using the donation to recruit new faculty.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity we have to attract some of the best scientists and mathematicians to the University of Texas,” Moser said. “That’s one of the most exciting things we do, and I think that helps out in a big way.”
Graduate student Nick Fitzsimmons, a current recipient of the institute’s fellowship, said he agreed the introduction of new faculty would contribute to the learning environment of the program. Fitzsimmons said he thinks it is wonderful more students will be given fellowship opportunities.
“It is pretty important that some of this money goes toward us new researchers so that we have time as poor graduate students to … focus on the things about this University that make it great,” Fitzsimmons said.