CSC News

June 17, 2010

Rewarding Relationship

The longstanding bond between IBM and NC State helps the College and the company

Source – NC State Engineering, NC State Engineering Foundation and Engineering Communications, Spring 2010

Why do so many NC State students end up at IBM?
“You start off with a good pool of talent,” said Bob Greenberg, IBM’s senior state executive for North Carolina. “And then, I think, it’s the education students get inside the school, the way the programs are run, the way the faculty structures the education. That all seems to marry very well with what IBM is looking for.”
The strong working relationship between IBM, one of the world’s largest computer and technology companies, and NC State goes back decades. Today, NC State ranks among the top three schools from which IBM hires graduates, and most of those come from the College of Engineering. Since 2002, the company has hired more than 1,000 NC State graduates, and many of them have gone on to work at the company’s Research Triangle Park campus.
But the partnership goes well beyond the personnel office. NC State and IBM have been working for years on hi-tech projects that are revolutionizing education and computer security. Most notably, IBM teamed with the College and NC State’s Office of Information Technology in 2004 to establish the Virtual Computing Laboratory, or VCL, a remote access service that allows users to access powerful computing resources and software from anywhere at any time.
The technology, which has received national media attention, has already been extended to other North Carolina universities and community colleges and will eventually wind up in K-12 classrooms. Researchers are also using it as part of an initiative to make computer systems more secure and trustworthy.
IBM is also a longstanding supporter of NC State people and programs. The company has provided millions of dollars through the years to support students, outstanding faculty achievements and hardware enhancements and upgrades. And company representatives are often on campus to meet with faculty, talk with students and recruit new employees.
“IBM has been an outstanding partner and huge help to NC State and our department,” said Dr. Mladen Vouk, head of the Department of Computer Science and associate vice provost for information technology. “Its generous contributions have helped NC State faculty make dynamic, world-class discoveries and advances. We very much appreciate IBM’s interest in our students and the opportunities IBM has been offering our students and faculty. We are very proud of our joint contributions to the education and economic development of North Carolina.”
Many alumni who go on to work for IBM spread the word about their college experience. Rene Johnson, a mechanical engineering graduate who as part of her job coordinates regional E-Week events for the company, sees recruiting for NC State as an important way to give back to the university.
“You get to tell students about forming those lifetime friendships,” Johnson said. “And that’s important, because you’re away from home. You’re away from your mom and dad. And those friendships are going to be there for life.”
Greenberg says he’s proud of IBM’s bond with NC State and impressed by the insight and vision of its leadership. With all the research, education and social interactions that take place between the two organizations, a precedent has been set for successful collaboration in the years to come.
“NC State has great people to work with as well as excellent students,” Greenberg said. “We look forward to continuing the relationship well into the future.”


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