I received a mailing today from the Annual Fund at the University of Illinois. Enclosed was a letter from the Head of the Computer Science Department asking if I would “consider making a gift to the Department of Computer Science to ensure that the students of today and tomorrow have the resources necessary to create their own success…”
OK. I owe the UIUC CS Department a great deal. A GREAT DEAL! Though technically, my advisor was in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Still, I’m indebted to the university for a sterling graduate education in one of the finest CS Departments in the nation.
But earlier in the letter, I read:
When I walk into the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science each morning and pass by the display cases which showcase the work of our faculty, students, and alumni I am at once proud and anxious.
The Siebel Center is massive. It is new. It is a sight to behold (wanna see?) And I have to contrast it to our own struggling department. We are currently in temporary digs (cubicles!) while our building is renovated. And even when we move back, the setting will be, well, let’s just say it will be different than walking into the Siebel Center. We’re lucky if we get two-year-old computers for lab.
So, I hope the CS Department at the University of Illinois will excuse me if I don’t open my wallet this year. Any giving I do to an academic unit will be to the one I’m currently working in. One that would kill for the endowment and grant monies that the UIUC CS Department enjoys.
Editor’s note: I’m not complaining, mind you, and I know we could be hunting grants of our own (if so many of us weren’t teaching full course loads). I’m just struck by the irony of UIUC putting its hand out to me!