State Farm Insurance Co. has donated $45,000 to bolster the new management information systems major in Eastern Illinois University's School of Business.
The gift will provide $25,000 for computer equipment in Lumpkin Hall, and $20,000 for enhancement of student recruitment efforts for the major.
The management information systems major, which will begin in Fall 2007, will replace the computer information systems major with a new curriculum made possible in large part by State Farm's gift.
"We are very fortunate to enjoy a long and productive partnership with State Farm," said Diane Hoadley, dean of Eastern's Lumpkin College of Business and Professional Studies. "We appreciate State Farm's willingness to support us in our efforts to enhance our management information systems program. This gift will allow us to provide our students with an innovative learning experience that increases their access to hands-on' learning and relevant preparation to enter the workforce."
MIS students will be able to work on State Farm-funded dedicated servers that will provide greater access opportunities than the current system of sharing equipment used university-wide.
As a result, students will get more hands-on experience with applications that will simulate "real world" uses to better prepare them for their careers.
The recruitment funds will assist EIU in bringing highly sought-after, quality students to the program. The initiative includes the development of a pilot partnership with Lake Land College that would make it easier for students to transfer from Lake Land to EIU to complete a four-year MIS degree.
Bringing in very talented students will benefit EIU and, in turn, help EIU provide well-qualified graduates to its employment partners, including State Farm.
State Farm currently employs more than 500 EIU alumni in positions ranging from agent to vice president; most work in information management positions. Another 24 EIU graduates have retired from the company.
State Farm Companies Foundation was recently recognized as a Keystone Society member of the EIU Foundation for giving more than $218,000 through the years.