SMU  and AT&T have launched a new collaboration in a research center that will deliver solutions to critical industry needs, educate the next generation of virtualized network technology experts and support Dallas’ emergence as a global information technology hub.

A $2.5 million contribution from AT&T to SMU will endow the AT&T Center for Virtualization and fund its research to support the fast, reliable cloud-based telecommunications necessary for global connectivity. Through virtualization, functions that once required specialized hardware devices are now performed with software running on general-purpose hardware.

“SMU students will see tremendous advantage from participating in the interdisciplinary research of the AT&T Center for Virtualization,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Employers are looking for graduates who understand the technical, business and consumer environment. We are very pleased that this Dallas-based, global company has chosen SMU as its partner to advance research on cutting edge technology.”

The Center also offers an opportunity to draw and encourage more women to engage in technology.  While women’s participation in STEM fields continues to decline nationally, SMU has been a leader in successfully enrolling women in engineering studies. Within the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, women have averaged more than 30 percent of incoming undergraduates since 2005 – exceeding the national average of about 20 percent.

“We believe innovation increases when there is diversity in the workforce. This new research center not only helps advance the latest technology solutions, but it also presents a way to tap a critical segment of tech leaders: women,” said Brooks McCorcle, President, AT&T Partner Exchange. “Like AT&T, SMU is committed to building and expanding the base of technology talent. AT&T’s endowment is a call to mobilize and activate the next generation of female technology leaders through educational opportunities, innovative research and mentorship.”

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