TU announces major advancements for computer science, naming of school

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The University of Tulsa and the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences proudly announce the creation of four endowments that will allow TU to meet the demand in the rapidly growing field of computer science.

The advancements were made possible through the generosity of the Tandy Foundation. The Tandy name is synonymous with technological innovation and scientific discovery and, in honor of the $14 million gift, the university has renamed its Department of Computer Science the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy School of Computer Science.

Tandy Profile  FullMarylouise Tandy Cowan (BA '44) was one of TU's most honored graduates. She received the university's prestigious Distinguished Alumna award in 1998 for her roles as art aficionado, astute businesswoman, newspaper publisher and community volunteer.

She was the widow of Alfred Randolph "Bill" Tandy, whose family made their fortunes after purchasing a small electronics chain called RadioShack in 1963. The company went on to sell the country's first mass-produced personal computer, the TRS-80. In addition to serving as director of Tandy Corp., Bill led several other successful companies including property development and construction, oil and gas production, and leather manufacturing. He was a World War II pilot and served several organizations including the YMCA and Junior Achievement of Greater Tulsa. Bill passed away in Boston in February 1971.

Through the years, the Tandy Foundation has supported TU with gifts to the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences and the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences Annual Fund.

In 2010-11, generous gifts from the foundation established four endowed chairs that will allow TU to expand the computer science faculty in established and emerging areas of expertise.

"TU is a recognized national leader in computer science, producing some of the most sought-after graduates in the information security and digital forensics fields. The Tandy Foundation's investment will improve our ability to attract world-class faculty who will further advance TU's programs and status," said university President Steadman Upham.

The recently established chairs are: the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Chair in Computer Science, the Tandy Endowed Chair in Cyber Security and Information Assurance, the Tandy Endowed Chair in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, and the Tandy Endowed Chair in Computer Science Engineering.

The Tandy School of Computer Science enjoys a national reputation as a problem solver for issues related to cyber security. For more than a decade, TU computer science faculty and students have partnered with the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Defense (DoD), the U.S. Secret Service, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the military branches of the armed forces to minimize risks to our country's security infrastructure through immediate countermeasures and ongoing research.

TU has placed more than 225 Cyber Corps graduates into high-level information security positions with federal agencies including the NSA, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation among others. In addition, the NSA designated TU as one of two national centers for the development of cyber security faculty.

Likewise, TU's Institute for Information Security (iSec) has been a leader in the field of information assurance for 15 years. iSec's continuing commitment to the discipline is demonstrated by its ongoing recruitment of the country's best students and faculty to provide cutting edge research and solutions for government and private industry. The institute draws on the expertise of multiple disciplines within the university, including computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, business and law. Students are also encouraged to take on leadership positions through technology commercialization and service to private and government organizations.

TU also is quickly becoming a national leader in the emerging field of bioinformatics and computational biology. Current research in the field of bioinformatics is focused on building a cybernetic framework that encourages multidisciplinary inquiries spanning the fields of psychiatry, genetics and neuroscience. Recognizing the critical importance of this field of study, TU established the Institute of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (IBCB), a center of excellence within our Department of Computer Science. Since its establishment in 2007, our talented faculty have partnered with scientists and research physicians from organizations that include Laureate Psychiatric Hospital and the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Tulsa.

Faculty in IBCB have developed lines of research in neuroinformatics and computational biology, including a recent grant from the National Institutes of Health for a neuroinformatics project. The institute now involves 10 faculty members, maintains a robust research collaboration with the Laureate Institute for Brain Research and supports the recently announced OU/TU School of Community Medicine partnership.

"The Tandy Foundation is pleased to pair its resources with a dynamic program to create a strong, complementary partnership. The Tandy brand is recognized internationally as a pioneer in personal computing. By leveraging this name, The University of Tulsa will further its reputation as an elite computer science training ground through increased and enhanced recruitment abilities," said Tandy Foundation Trustee Paul Giehm.

Mona Chamberlin