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The Major Impact of Faculty Giving

Cameron H. G. Wright and Becky Garcia Support Programs Across Campus

Wright and Garcia gifts

Recently, Cameron H. G. Wright, acting dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science and professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and University of Wyoming Internal Auditor Becky Garcia pledged several gifts—the Wright Electrical and Computer Engineering Excellence Fund, the Albert and Mary Garcia Art Student Success Fund, and the Garcia Wright Music Student Success Fund. They have also contributed generously to the Theatre and Dance department.

These gifts are impacting UW departments in a major way. What is significant about these established funds is the donors’ preference that support first be given to aid students in whatever scope and capacity deemed appropriate by and at the discretion of the department head. The gifts resulted from the close working relationships Wright and Garcia have formed with the department heads over the years.

Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Head John E. McInroy experienced firsthand how valuable broad flexible funding is for programs and the students they support through the Wright Electrical and Computer Engineering Excellence Fund.

“I have been thrilled to have the Wright fund in our department,” says McInroy. “Before the pandemic, it had been used mainly to help support student travel. Our student groups have gone on a variety of trips, ranging from conferences to plant visits. This adds a whole dimension to their education that can’t be taught in the classroom.”

In the wake of the global health crisis, the needs of students and UW departments took an unexpected shift that no one could have predicted. While money was being raised for COVID-19 relief efforts, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering was immediately able to address the unanticipated needs—ultimately saving the department money.

“The endowment has provided quick funds to purchase items we suddenly needed,” says McInroy. “We were able to find ways to offer hardware labs despite social distancing requirements. Since the funds were already in place and I had the authority to spend them at my discretion, I was able to purchase some new low-cost instruments just before the rest of the world realized they needed them too. Since that time, their price jumped 50%, and I doubt they are available anymore due to shortages. Labs are vital to learning and understanding electrical and computer engineering, as the phenomena we study can’t usually be sensed without special instruments, so this fund made a tremendous difference to our students this year.”

 

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