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Posted on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

University of Michigan renames computer science and engineering building after $15 million gift

By Nathan Bomey

A Fortune 500 company founder and his wife donated $15 million to the University of Michigan's College of Engineering, and the college's Computer Science and Engineering Building will be renamed after the couple.

J. Robert Beyster, who holds four U-M degrees and started Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), devoted at least $9 million for an endowed fellowship program that will support up to 10 doctoral engineering students a year.

The gift, which benefits entrepreneurship functions and building renovations, also includes $5 million for renovations of the university's decommissioned nuclear reactor.

To acknowledge the gift, the university is renaming its Computer Science and Engineering Building as the Bob and Betty Beyster Building.

"This gift will touch so many lives — from the graduate students whose education it supports, to the professors whose research it propels, to the people across the globe who benefit as a result of the innovations it enables," U-M College of Engineering Dean David Munson said in a statement.

Among Beyster's goals is to educate students about companies that are owned by their employees, U-M said.

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Sat, Feb 18, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

Although SAIC was once an employee owned company, they made the mistake of going public in 2005, and the worth of employees to the company has steadily dwindled ever since. Ironically, just two weeks before this gift was bestowed by SAIC's founder, SAIC announced it was shutting down its Ann Arbor office after ten years and laying off all but a handful of staff who will be transferred to Dayton, Ohio. Several other office closures were announced at the same time, in Illinois, Colorado and Virginia. Employees had no input in this decision at all, and were notified of closure plans only when they leaked from the San Diego office.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

"To acknowledge the gift, the university is renaming its Computer Science and Engineering Building as the Bob and Betty Beyster Building." Huh? Is there a "gift acknowledgement" spread sheet or flow chart available for my perusal? I was thinking of donating 15 bucks but if 50 gets up to the next acknowledgment level I'd sure like to know.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

I'm in if its an LED lamp. ;)

Brian Kuehn

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

I think the $50 level gets you naming rights to a man-hole cover on North Campus. Maybe we could pool our money and get a "Lounsbury-Kuehn" street lamp.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

The buildings on UM campus are starting to look like NASCAR's with all the names they are plastering on them. I was in one of the new university buildings recently and in that one building they've named the atrium, auditorium and building itself after donors. Don't get me wrong, its a nice gesture considering what these people donate, I just found it a bit comical seeing all the naming rights they sold for a single building when I was walking through.

Smart Logic

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

Bet the beautiful Bob and Betty Beyster Building bestows BASIC brilliance by the bucketful.