Fresno State and IBM today announced an agreement to deploy leading-edge business and learning technology solutions at California State University, Fresno.

IBM will provide technology and train faculty and students in e-business solutions to enable the university to consult with and nurture local businesses.

The university projects the agreement will lead to $1 million in new revenue to help fund its business initiatives, which include the new Save Mart Center, scheduled to be completed in Fall 2002.

In addition to providing the community with cultural and other events at the Save Mart Center, the university will build an adjacent complex to provide space for academic programs, such as the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship that includes a Small Business Incubator. Their mission is to fuel the development of new e-businesses in the region.

IBM will work with the university to establish a training site that provides Central California businesses with the latest technology, training and support. University faculty will work alongside IBM experts in the development of new technology and business curricula.

The center will be equipped with leading edge e-business technology from IBM such as IBM Thinkpad (laptop) computers, Netfinity servers and e-business software such as Websphere. Demonstrations will offer examples of how e-business is used in a variety of industries such as retail, government, agriculture, as well as education.

The relationship will also enhance computer technology in teaching and learning on campus through development of a “Thinkpad University” program. IBM’s Thinkpad University Program places the latest e-business, mobile and wireless technology in the hands of students, professors and administrators, enhancing their productivity, education and overall competitiveness in the marketplace.

The ThinkPad University Program will seek to create a truly connected community at Fresno State by providing equitable access to technology, integrating technology into classrooms and faculty buildings and streamlining technology implementation while managing support costs.

Patricia A. Sullivan, Area Education Executive for IBM said, “IBM and Fresno State share the common goal of developing innovative technological solutions that will benefit the educational community and help drive the economic development of the Central Valley.”

University President John Welty said, “We are excited about working with IBM to implement important educational initiatives that could eventually enable the University to contribute even more to economic development in our community.

“In addition, IBM’s expertise and leadership will help ensure the viability of endeavors that could lead to significant financial support for the new Save Mart Center. Clearly, the formation of this relationship underscores IBM’s ongoing commitment to enhance the quality of life for our students and faculty, as well as the entire Central California community.”

The Save Mart Center fundraising campaign now exceeds $80 million. Construction is expected to begin following approval of the financing plan by the CSU Board of Trustees. Earlier this year, the Trustees approved the official name of the Save Mart Center and the architectural schematic plans.