St. Mary’s University on May 29 announced a comprehensive student computing
program under which every incoming freshman will receive a wireless-capable
Dell notebook computer, beginning in fall 2002.

Celebrating 150 years of nationally recognized academic excellence, ethical
commitment and service to society, St. Mary’s University joins other
leading schools across the U.S. that have instituted educational technology
programs with Dell, with the goal of ensuring that their students have the
skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workforce of tomorrow.
St. Mary’s is the first undergraduate school in San Antonio to offer a Dell
University Honors program.

“St. Mary’s will provide the best notebook computer with the right
technologies and features to help students be more productive from day
one,” said David T. Simpson, vice president for Administration and Finance
at St. Mary’s. As part
of the Dell University Honors program, Dell will be providing training,
on-site depot repair services, data transfer, asset tagging/reporting and
on-site resources for warranty repair during the project.

With the arrival of the fall semester in August, St. Mary’s notebook
computer initiative will be entering its third year and its first with the
Austin-based Dell Computer Corporation as the supplier. For the 625
students in the incoming freshmen class, plus an additional 625 returning
juniors, each will receive a wireless-capable Dell Latitude model C840, a
true desktop replacement with
a three-year warranty and next business day on-site service.

The Latitude notebook is designed to meet wide-ranging needs, including
portability, flexibility and powerful performance.
It features Intel’s mobile Pentium 4 processor, 15-inch video display,
512MB memory, 32MB video memory, 40GB hard drive, combination DVD/CD
Read/Write Drive, and the Windows 2000 operating system. Dell will install
St. Mary’s custom
image on each of the systems to aid the students in seamlessly connecting
to the St. Mary’s network on day one.

To have the latest in technology, students trade-in the computer issued in
their freshman year for a new one after their sophomore year. Then upon
graduation or at the end of their fourth year, students may keep the newer
model. In addition, seniors, graduate and law students, faculty and staff
can opt to buy a Dell notebook in 2002-2003.

St. Mary’s has been fully integrating computer-enhanced instruction into
the classroom for the past three years. The overall goal is to provide
students with an optimal learning experience and excellent educational
technology skills to make them competitive in any career field in an
increasingly-dependent and global workplace.

“Universal access to notebook computers promotes active learning, the basis
of a superior education,” said Charles Cotrell, Ph.D., president of St.
Mary’s. “We know that a technology-enhanced learning environment promotes
collaboration and productivity and we are continuing our commitment to
quality education,” he said. All academic disciplines have access to
notebook computers and networked information in the classroom. “The new
information technologies are tools to complement the person-centered
approach that is the hallmark of the Marianist mission,” Cotrell said. “St.
Mary’s holistic approach to teaching is strengthened by integrating
information technology into all aspects of a liberal arts education,” he

Founded by French brothers and priests of the Society of Mary in 1852, St.
Mary’s is a premier federally designated independent Hispanic Serving
Institution that has a diverse student body of 4,100, including an
undergraduate enrollment that is 65 percent Hispanic and 58 percent female.
The average class size is only 20 students and the student-to-faculty ratio
is a low 14 to 1.

Coupled with the notebook initiative, St. Mary’s classroom infrastructure
is evolving. Internet connectivity is complete in all campus buildings,
including the 11 residence halls where half of the 2,550 undergraduates
reside, plus 16 of the 52 classrooms are in the process of being
renovated for multimedia applications under a five-year, $2.1 million
grant, awarded
by the U.S. Department of Education. Seven SMART classrooms will feature
plug-in connections for notebook computers exclusively.

At St. Mary’s, returning sophomores for 2002-2003 will retain their
freshman issued computer notebooks under the first two-year phase of the
University-wide notebook program.

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