Micron Foundation gives $1 million to University of Idaho

broberts@idahostatesman.comApril 10, 2014 

Correction: This story originally misspelled Fred Barlow's name.

The money will be used to fund an endowed professorship in microelectronics at the University of Idaho.

U of I will be able to hire a professor, bring on more microelectronics graduate students - it has about 50 now - and attract other high quality faculty, said Fred Barlow, professor and chair of the electrical and computer department.

Microelectronics deals with the integration of products such as memory chips and processors, often in consumer products such as cell phones and tablets.

"I don't see it as a gift," said Naga Chandrasekaran, Micron's vice president for process research and development. "I see it as an investment." The money gives the university "the opportunity to recruit the best minds."

Micron Foundation's gift gives the university the ability to hire and retain top faculty, a concern school officials have worried about as the university has gone through budget cuts as state funding was reduced during the Great Recession.

"We are truly grateful for Micron’s commitment and support of world-class faculty here at the University of Idaho,” said Chuck Staben, U of I president.

Higher quality students will give Micron a better field of candidates from which to hire employees.

"It is a huge opportunity for us," Chandrasekaran said.

Micron's gift is the first endowed professorship in engineering at U of I.

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