Engineering at Nebraska, Spring 2007
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Gift for New Computer Science Center Announced

Gift for new computer science center
Above left: Artist rendering of the new computer science center. Above right: Alumni June and Paul Schorr III.
Courtesy Photo

University of Nebraska alumni June and Paul Schorr III of Lincoln have been honored by their son and daughter, Paul “Chip” Schorr IV and Melissa Condo, both of New York City, with the naming of a new computer science center at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

The Schorr children provided a significant contribution to the University of Nebraska Foundation toward a project to redesign and renovate a three-story office building on the south side of Memorial Stadium for the Paul and June Schorr III Center for Computer Science and Engineering.

The South Stadium building had been home to athletic department offices since it was built in 1972. Athletic offices recently were relocated to the new Tom and Nancy Osborne Athletic Complex.

UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman said the gift continues the Schorr family’s tradition of generosity to the university and the community.

“This gift enables us to complete our vision to renovate the South Stadium office complex into a state-of-the-art facility for computer science and engineering,” Perlman said. “We are grateful to the Schorr family for all they have done for the university during a nearly 40-year relationship.”

About the siblings’ decision to honor their parents at the university, Chip Schorr said, “The University of Nebraska is something our family has supported for as long as we can remember. It’s an important part of our family and has been a very meaningful part of our parents’ lives, so it’s a great way to honor them.”

Construction of the Schorr Center for Computer Science and Engineering started in January and is estimated to be completed in fall 2007. It will provide 18,434 square feet to consolidate areas of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering that are currently located at two other areas on campus and a leased space off campus. The move also places the department adjacent to its offices in nearby Avery Hall.

“This new facility is critical to our vision to be broadly recognized for innovative research in software engineering, informatics and systems,” said Richard Sincovec, chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Henson Professor of Engineering, Communications and Information Sciences.

“The growth of our research space is necessary to maintain our momentum, to our success in hiring and retaining outstanding faculty, and to our ability to recruit top students and educate them to be the future leaders and innovators of the Information Age.”

The UNL Research Computing Facility, which provides campuswide services to researchers who need high performance computer resources, also plans to make the new center its home.

“Technically, we’ll be able to directly link, and significantly grow, our resources to meet increasing needs; more importantly, it will only enhance our ability to communicate with faculty, staff and students,” said David Swanson, director of the Research Computing Facility.

Also moving to the Schorr Center is PrairieFire, the most powerful supercomputer in the state. It is used by scientists and engineers to study nanoscale chemistry, subatomic physics, meteorology, genomics, crash-worthiness and artificial intelligence. It is also used by students for several courses.

The new location will allow PrairieFire to be directly wired with other department computers, together offering the power and storage capacity of more than 1,000 PCs. Funding is already in place to double this computing strength once the new center opens.

Chip Schorr said, “It means a lot to our family that we can help enable all of these talented engineers to collaborate together for the first time in one building. It gives the university an opportunity to extend its leadership in this area.”

Sweethearts since high school, Paul and June Schorr met in Lincoln in 9th grade after their families had moved from other cities a few years earlier, Paul from Hastings and June from Chicago. They both attended the University of Nebraska and were married a year before graduating in 1959. June Schorr received degrees in fashion merchandising and English, and Paul Schorr graduated with a degree in electrical engineering.

June Schorr has served art and human service organizations in various capacities, including her current association with the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She has also served the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery at UNL and Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum, among others.

Paul Schorr has enjoyed a long career in electrical engineering contracting and consulting and is president and CEO of ComCor Holding Inc. His civic involvement includes Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, among others. He is also past chairman of the University of Nebraska Foundation’s board of directors.

— Robb Crouch, NU Foundation