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UC Berkeley to receive $900,000 from SBC Foundation for distance-learning classroom at Haas School of Business
26 April 2002

By Ute Frey, Haas School of Business

Berkeley - A $900,000 gift from the SBC Foundation will provide the technology for state-of-the-art distance learning capabilities at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

The SBC grant provides UC Berkeley with a fully equipped distance-learning classroom, allowing the Haas School to leverage its faculty and expertise, extend its educational outreach and strengthen corporate relationships.

"At SBC Pacific Bell, we believe that improving education and strengthening the economic vitality of our communities is crucial," said Lora Watts, president of external affairs at SBC Pacific Bell. "We are very proud to be able to provide this technology grant to the Haas School."

As a public institution, the Haas School's mission is to provide expanded opportunities for learning within the University of California community statewide and extend its management education offerings to a broader audience.

"A state-of-the-art distance learning classroom offers tremendous opportunities to reach a wider audience for our programs," said Benjamin Hermalin, interim dean of the Haas School of Business. "Being part of one of the greatest universities in the world, the Haas School will soon have the bandwidth to explore new prospects in sharing its resources in management research and education thanks to the SBC Foundation's generous gift."

The new distance learning classroom will allow the Haas School to offer business education to students within the UC System, as well as executive education to business professionals in California and around the world. Through its Center for Executive Development, the school is planning to expand its lifelong educational opportunities to business professionals and to its 30,000 alumni worldwide.

Another potential use of this classroom is the expansion of the Young Entrepreneurs at Haas (YEAH) program, which teaches about business, economics and entrepreneurship, and offers college preparation skills to underserved middle school and high school students in the San Francisco Bay Area.

During the press conference today (Friday, April 26), YEAH offered a brief demonstration of how distance-learning technology can help reach students around the state. The demonstration showed how YEAH and UC Merced's UC Scholars program might work together in the future to provide tutoring, counseling and college preparedness activities to assist underserved communities in the Central Valley make the transition to higher education.

"We are very grateful for the tremendous support demonstrated by SBC Pacific Bell for expanding student access to educational programs of the University of California, which includes scholarship funding for future engineering students at the UC Merced campus," said UC Merced Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "Funding of the Haas School distance-learning classroom opens the door on another avenue to bring such valuable programs as YEAH to students in the San Joaquin Valley and beyond."

SBC and the Haas School have a long-standing partnership. For many years, SBC and its affiliates have helped support telecommunications research at the business school and have provided student scholarships and job opportunities to its students. SBC and its affiliates employ many Haas School and UC Berkeley graduates.

Construction on the distance-learning classroom will start in May and is scheduled for completion in September.

The University of California is committed to expanding educational opportunities throughout the state through distance-learning opportunities. One such example is the governor-initiated statewide CITRIS program, which seeks to provide access to the educational opportunities available within the university to those who traditionally have not had access to these resources.