Miami University alumnus and former CEO of AT&T and Hughes Electronics, Michael Armstrong '61, last night announced gifts totaling $14.7 million to the university to grow its interactive media studies (IMS) program.
He announced the establishment of the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies (AIMS)at Miami during a symposium and reunion of graduates of the IMS program. "This will expand Miami's boundaries beyond Oxford," Armstrong said. "It's Anne's and my desire that AIMS will enable digital technology to fuse teaching, research and service into expansive, yet individualized learning through interdisciplinary collaboration."
The AIMS Institute will be a program of collaborations among faculty, students and industry to connect Oxford to any part of the world in meaningful interactive projects. It will support development of new approaches in digital technologies that will empower individuals and organizations to invent, innovate and combine strengths in novel ways, says Glenn Platt, professor of marketing and recently named Mike Armstrong Chair in Network Technology and Management effective July 1, who directs the program.
A unique aspect of the gift is that it will support all academic divisions at Miami: It will endow Armstrong Interactive Media Professorships in Miami's schools of Education, Health and Society and Fine Arts; endow an Armstrong Chair in the Business School; and provide for collaborative interactive projects in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The positions will complement the existing Armstrong Chair in Network Technology and Management in Miami's Farmer School of Business.
The Armstrongs are long-time supporters of Miami. The new gift builds upon previous commitments in support of the first Armstrong Chair in Network Technology and Management and of Armstrong Interactive, a program of experiential learning initiatives in interactive media studies.
"We are deeply grateful for Mike and Ann's generosity in creating the Armstrong Interactive Media Studies Institute," said Miami President David Hodge. "Mike's challenge to us to develop innovative ways to communicate and collaborate across space is visionary and inspiring. Our students, faculty and staff, drawn literally from every part of Miami University, will quite literally be inventing the future as they create and apply new technologies to the widest possible range of problems and organizations."
Among benefits of the enhanced program: Technology-driven idea creation and implementation that support Ohio's Third Frontier goals; cross-disciplinary partnerships inviting a variety of perspectives; and the latest technology available to allow all levels of interactivity.
New through AIMS:
• This spring: AIMS students will complete projects for Petters Group Worldwide and a usability analysis and site design for uBid.com.
• This summer: They'll develop social networking software for Bank of America in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
• AIMS will enable more student inquiry and research, a hallmark of the Miami experience.
• A CAVE - Cave Automated Virtual Environment will be installed as well as a Thunderroom for interactive, electronically-enhanced group efforts at the new business school building.
• Other facilities will include an immersive virtual reality room, an "extreme collaboration" room that supports creative teamwork across great distances and a rapid prototyping lab with a 3D printer.
Armstrong is chairman of the board of trustees, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Health System Corporation and Hospital. He is the retired chairman of Comcast Corporation and former chairman and CEO of AT&T and Hughes Electronics. Prior to those positions, he spent more than 30 years with IBM before retiring as chairman of IBM World Trade Corporation.