WMU News

Gift of Computer Certification Library benefits students

Feb. 11, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- An unassuming filing cabinet tucked away in Western Michigan University's Schneider Hall today holds a wealth of high-tech resources for business students aiming to break into the information economy.

Thanks to a gift from Granite Solutions, a Kalamazoo-area information systems developer, WMU's Department of Business Information Systems recently unveiled its Computer Certification Library. The collection of more than 15 training manuals and handbooks for computer software, hardware and operating systems is now available to computer information systems majors who want to get certified in a program or language. The training materials will be used in several BIS courses, and students can also use them for self-directed study. What's more, Granite Solutions is offering $100 scholarships to students in the department who want to become certified, which is usually enough to cover all testing fees.

"It may not look like much, but the contents of that filing cabinet are worth thousands of dollars. The manuals required for just one certification can run anywhere from $500 to $1,000," says Earl Halvas, chairperson of the Department of Business Information Systems in the Haworth College of Business. We simply don't have the financial resources to create a library like this on our own, so we're immensely grateful to Granite Solutions for providing such a great opportunity for our students."

Granite Solutions' co-founder and president, Matthew Mace, is a WMU alumnus, as are nearly half of its 30 employees. Company officials say the gift is a way to "give back" to the University, as well as to ensure a qualified labor pool.

"There's obviously some self-interest in this gift, since we do benefit when WMU graduates are well trained in the software and systems we use," says Dan Blackledge, CEO of Granite Solutions, noting that his company plans to add to the library several times each year. "But these certifications are valued by a huge cross section of companies. If graduates are trained well for us, they're trained well for just about any organization, anywhere. We're glad to be able to help out with something the university might not otherwise have the resources to provide."

Growing fast in its sixth year of business, Granite Solutions is exploring several other opportunities to partner with the University, including research and development collaborations with the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The company designs high-tech business solutions and wide area networking systems for organizations around the world.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu


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