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Reed College, founded in 1908 in southeast Portland, Ore. (Reed.edu)
Reed College, founded in 1908 in southeast Portland, Ore. (Reed.edu)

Microsoft has made a significant contribution aimed at jumpstarting a computer science program at Reed College in Portland, Ore. Students proficient in irony would be quick to note that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was a famous non-graduate of the liberal arts school.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs

According to a news release, Kurt DelBene, executive vice president of corporate strategy at Microsoft and a Reed College trustee, was instrumental in securing a $500,000 grant as fundraising efforts for the program approach $5 million.

“It’s a wonderful gift that has set the foundation for Reed to build our computer science program. The students are very eager to see how the program develops within Reed’s tradition,” said Jim Fix, a Reed professor of computer science.

Fix added, “Coming from the University of Washington, I know the kind of unexpected ties that can develop with Microsoft and the deep, positive impact those ties will have on our students. Microsoft is full of word-class researchers and innovators. It’s great to see them extending their reach to Portland and to Reed College.”

Reed’s website doesn’t shy from referring to Jobs as perhaps “one of the most famous dropouts in history” while noting that the institution certainly “made a profound impression on him.” But the connections with Microsoft also run strong, a news release notes. Approximately 100 Reed alumni have worked for Microsoft since its founding, and the company currently employs 38 Reed College alumni.

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