The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has received $2 million from UWM alumnus and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and his wife, Anu Nadella. The gift will create the Fund for Diversity in Tech Education at UWM, which will support the university’s efforts to recruit, retain and graduate undergraduate students from marginalized and underserved communities, preparing them with the skills to pursue careers in computer science, data science and information technology.
“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.”
The Nadellas’ gift will support pre-college programming to encourage students from marginalized and underserved communities to enroll in computer science, data science and information technology; scholarships for undergraduate students; and student services, such as advising, mentoring and tutoring, as well as emergency grant support to help students remain successful in pursuing their degrees.
Satya Nadella earned a master’s degree in computer science from UWM in 1990. He received the UWM Chancellor’s Innovation Award in 2013 for his leadership of Microsoft’s Server & Tools Division, and in 2014, he became the third CEO of Microsoft. In 2019, he was named Financial Times’ Person of the Year and Fortune magazine’s Businessperson of the Year.
“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.”
Anu Nadella is a community leader in Seattle, Washington. She and her husband are committed to being champions for organizations that create opportunities for community participation for people with disabilities, as well as supporting public health and educational endeavors. Anu serves as chair of the Seattle Children’s Foundation Board of Trustees and is a research ambassador for the Arrowsmith Program. Anu earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Mangalore University in India.
“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. “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.”
Microsoft Corp. has been a key partner in UWM’s Connected Systems Institute (CSI). In 2019, Microsoft gave UWM more than $1.5 million in cash, Microsoft Azure cloud computing credits and Surface Hub devices to advance CSI, a multidisciplinary statewide collaboration among academia, industry and government to develop talent and conduct research that solves real-world problems using the industrial internet of things.