Microsoft CEO and wife give $2 million to UWM to increase diversity in tech

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Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella and his wife, Anu Nadella, have donated $2 million to establish the Fund for Diversity in Tech Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The fund will support the recruitment and retention of undergraduate students from marginalized and underserved communities who are pursuing careers in computer science, data science and information technology at UWM.

Satya Nadella received his master’s degree in computer science from UWM in 1990. He’s led tech giant Microsoft since 2014.

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“We know that while talent is everywhere, opportunity is not,” the Nadellas said in a statement. “And when people have access to education and skilling, they create new opportunity for themselves and their communities. It is our hope that others will join us in working to create new opportunity for students from Milwaukee’s underserved communities to learn, gain new skills and grow their economic opportunity, which in turn will benefit the broader community and help this region thrive in the digital economy.”

The gift will support pre-college programming to encourage students from marginalized and underserved communities to enroll in the computer and IT fields, scholarships for undergraduate students, and student services, such as advising, mentoring and tutoring, as well as emergency grant support to help students as they pursue their degrees.

“On behalf of UWM, I offer my deep gratitude to Satya and Anu Nadella for their generous gift that will promote diversity on our campus and give students the tools they need to succeed,” UWM chancellor Mark Mone said. “At UWM, we are committed to fostering inclusion and eliminating equity gaps, and this gift will take us one step closer to doing that. I believe this gift will inspire students to reach for their dreams and inspire other alumni to support this critical effort.”

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With Nadella at the helm, Microsoft Corp. gave more than $1.5 million in 2019 to support UWM’s Connected Systems Institute, along with Microsoft Azure cloud computing credits and Surface Hub devices.

“UWM has been deeply impactful in my life, and I will be forever grateful to the professors and computer science department that instilled in me both technical education and the confidence to apply that knowledge to tackling the biggest and hardest problems in computer science,” Satya Nadella said. “I still carry the lessons learned at UWM with me, and Anu and I are honored to contribute to expanding that same opportunity I had to a broader group of students.”

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