Duke Endowment Gift
August 30, 2000
Contact: Bill Giduz 704/894-2244 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Duke Endowment has donated forty-seven laptop computers to Davidson College to help assure that all its students have the technology they need for class work.
Sophomore Ashley Price from Tampa, Fla., and other students with significant financial aid are leasing the new Dell Inspiron 3800 machines for $1 per year.
Price says both she and her mother are thrilled about the deal. "I've been fortunate my mom is so generous," Price explained. "She gave me her computer to bring to school, but she needs it in her job and now I can give it back to her. She was so excited when I called her and said, 'Guess what the Duke Endowment has done now!' When I told her the price she said, 'I think we can afford that!'"
Price holds three Davidson scholarships, including a William B. McGuire Scholarship that was established in part by the Duke Endowment to honor a longtime CEO of the company.
"This computer was an answer to my prayers," said Price. "A laptop like this gives you so much more freedom to do what you want."
The 500 megahertz processor and six gigabyte hard drive give Price plenty of processing power for her science and math courses. The laptops are loaded with Microsoft Office and network-ready, so student can access Internet sites not only from residence hall rooms, but from the library and even some Davidson classrooms.
Davidson has avoided requiring all students to purchase computers, allowing them to choose the machine and software that best suits individual needs. Those students who do not purchase their own machines can use any of 110 "public" PC and Macintosh computers in six locations around campus, some of which are open twenty-four-hours per day.
John Casey, director of information technology, noted that students are increasingly choosing to have a computer in their rooms instead of relying on public lab computers. That trend accelerated with completion of the campus network two years ago, which gave students direct access from their rooms to the Internet and college servers.
It's mostly a matter of convenience, Casey explained. "Your work accumulates on your own hard drive instead of on a network server, and you donšt have to carry around a disk with your files on it from place to place. You can set up your personal computer exactly like you want, and if you have a laptop you can even carry it to class or the library."
Casey said that the Duke Endowment's $100,000 donation helps Davidson make sure that computer ownership is not strictly an economic choice for students. "Providing these students with computers and placing them on an equal footing with their peers is an institutional priority," he said. "The lack of access to and familiarity with a personal computer can handicap students both in their school work and in careers beyond Davidson."
The college's financial aid office handled distribution of the Duke Endowment machines. Financial aid officers identified students in the first year, sophomore, and junior classes with the greatest financial need, and offered them the lease. The leases are renewable as long as a student remains at Davidson.
The computers are one item covered by a $1.69-million donation from the Duke Endowment to the college last December. Several previous Duke Endowment grants have also helped the college develop its technological resources, including construction of the fiber optic network to all buildings and residence hall rooms, and construction of "technology classrooms."
The Duke Endowment is the largest single donor to the college, having contributed more than $50-million in its seventy-five years of philanthropy.