University of Pittsburgh
January 22, 2004

AT&T Foundation Funds Pitt's School of Information Sciences' Effort to Define the "Information School for the 21st Century"

Contact:  412-624-4147

Editors: Photos of the check ceremony will be available online at after 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, 2004.

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences (SIS) announced today that with the help of a $50,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation it will launch "Information School for the 21st Century," a study to evaluate how emergent information, technology, and societal factors will shape information schools for the foreseeable future.

The SIS will undertake this strategic study with the purpose of producing a description of what it believes the "Information School for the 21st Century" should be. It also will recommend the best possible alignment of future educational programs and curriculum innovations with the emerging realities of the information economy.

"The University of Pittsburgh has, through the years, shown its deep belief in the power and importance of new technology," said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. "It is by harnessing innovations that we will best educate our students while, simultaneously, we strengthen the infrastructure of our home region. The generosity of the AT&T Foundation will enable Pitt's School of Information Sciences to evaluate and implement a revitalized, progressive strategy designed to ensure that our University continues to build upon its many academic and technological strengths."

J. Michael Schweder, president of AT&T Pennsylvania, announced the grant during a visit to the University today.

"AT&T has a long and rich heritage of supporting education," said Schweder. "This grant brings together the components of education and research with technology, another area in which AT&T's innovation is well-known. We're proud to join Chancellor Nordenberg and [SIS] Dean Ron Larsen as they chart a new course for the future of the School of Information Sciences."

As the world becomes increasingly networked, information schools will be called upon to train professionals to manage digital information in a broad range of uses—from entertainment and healthcare to scholarly research and national defense. By design, SIS faculty and students explore and integrate information, technology, and societal and organizational factors, allowing them to emerge as leaders in their fields. According to Larsen, also a professor in SIS, the grant helps to ensure that future graduates will continue to be among the very best in the nation as they enter the nonprofit, government, and business information workplaces with the knowledge and skills necessary to quickly become leaders in the information-driven economy.

"This endeavor is exciting for us. Thanks to AT&T's generosity, we will explore the complex dimension of the 'Information School for the 21st Century' through school-wide and profession-wide conversations led by local and national experts," said Larsen. "We're fortunate that AT&T shares our sense of enthusiasm for this and has expressed its confidence that Pitt's School of Information Sciences can provide the leadership for this project."

AT&T is among the world's premier voice and data communications companies, serving consumers, businesses, and government. More information about the AT&T Foundation is available at