From TMJ4: $2 million gift to UWM to create scholarships for Milwaukee high school students and increase diversity in tech education

K Vairavan
Professor Emeritus K. Vairavan

A July 29 WTMJ story—“$2 million gift to UWM to create scholarships for Milwaukee students and increase diversity in tech education”—highlighted the importance of a recent gift to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (’90 MS Computer Science) and his wife Anu.

In June, the couple donated $2 million to create the Fund for Diversity in Tech Education at UWM. The fund will support efforts to recruit, retain and graduate undergrads from marginalized and underserved communities, preparing them with the skills to pursue careers in computer science, data science and information technology.

Mariam Adams, senior in computer science

Mariam Adams, a senior in computer science, and Professor Emeritus K. Vairavan, former chair of the Computer Science Department and one of Satya Nadella’s former professors, spoke with the reporter.

“When I walk into a classroom and I don’t see people that look like me, I feel like I don’t belong and that I shouldn’t be here,” said Adams.

“We are not where we should be as a nation,” said Vairavan in referring to diversity within the technical professions.  “There are lots and lots of students that have the potential to succeed in high-tech fields, but they don’t have the opportunity.”

How to Join the Effort to Fund Diversity in Higher Ed 

The Nadellas hope to inspire others to support this important cause. “We know that while talent is everywhere, opportunity is not. And when people have access to education and skilling, they create new opportunity for themselves and their communities,” Satya and Anu Nadella said.

For information on joining this effort, please contact Jean Opitz, development director, UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science, at

Learn more about the Nadellas gift here.