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Halsey MinorLargest Gift Ever to U.Va.'s College of Arts and Sciences
Halsey Minor, CNET Networks Founder, Gives $25 Million to Help Transform Education for the Internet Age

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Oct. 18, 2000 -- Halsey M. Minor, founder and chairman of CNET Inc., will give $25 million to the University of Virginia to integrate digital technology with the humanities and social sciences in ways that promise to redefine a liberal arts education in the Internet Age.

University President John T. Casteen III called Minor's gift extraordinary in its foresight. "His creative thinking and generosity will help us to infuse new ways of teaching and learning into our classrooms and our libraries so that we can play a key role in transforming higher education more broadly through innovative uses of digital technology," Casteen said.

Minor's challenge gift is designed to encourage other donors -- individuals, corporations, foundations and governmental entities - to match his commitment in both funds and support for the project. The gift is the largest ever to U.Va.'s College of Arts & Sciences, and will help create a 21st-century Digital Academical Village, modeled on Thomas Jefferson's original Academical Village, where faculty and students live and learn in proximity to one another.

The Digital Academical Village will comprise:

a research center that will foster meaningful intellectual partnerships between computer scientists and humanists, as well as integrate technology into traditional forms of teaching and scholarship;

new multi-disciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs in media studies and digital media that emphasize the understanding and imaginative uses of new technology;

a cutting-edge academic facility to house these programs, other existing digital initiatives, and related academic departments and programs.

"Our aim will be to make the University the world leader in using technology and in assessing its role in human affairs," said Melvyn P. Leffler, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. "We have been pioneers in using digital technology for humanities research, teaching and outreach. This gift enables us to reach a new level of sophistication in our efforts to analyze, preserve, and transmit human culture."

Minor, who graduated in 1987 with a degree in anthropology, has been fascinated with technology since his youth. This passion has inspired each of Minor's entrepreneurial ventures, from a database driven apartment locating business in Charlottesville, to CNET Networks, today one of the world's leading new media companies. Minor founded CNET in 1992 to provide trusted information about technology and pioneered new ways to use the Internet and digital technology to deliver that information in more efficient, useful ways than had ever been done before. Today, CNET Networks is one of the top 10 destinations on the Internet, with award-winning Web sites, television and radio programming that reaches millions of people around the world every day.

Minor hopes his gift will be a catalyst for the University to evolve and improve higher education through the innovative use of new technology. "Education will inevitably be transformed by the force of the Internet and digital technology. There is an opportunity now to propel that transformation with private philanthropy and generate a leveraged benefit. My goal is to facilitate the University's work in developing programs and practices that will become models for teaching and learning in the 21st century and will be shared among other institutions of higher learning, and ultimately in K-12 classrooms here and around the world."

Some of the ultimate goals of the project include:

establishing the University as a world leader in integrating computer and information sciences with the humanities and social sciences;

sharing new models of teaching and research with other universities and constituencies around the globe;

redefining a liberal arts education in America to reflect the impact of digital technology;

educating a new generation of young people who understand technology, its practical applications, and its social and economic implications;

promoting innovative uses of digital education to help close the digital divide;

disseminating Jeffersonian ideals in a global community of knowledge.

The implications of these initiatives embody Jefferson's original vision for the University, Leffler said. It is the hope of all involved that they reach beyond the physical boundaries of the Academical Village to link the day's most advanced scientific and scholarly thinking to the civic and cultural life of democratic societies worldwide.

Minor's gift offers unprecedented opportunities to help the University realize the aims of Virginia 2020, a long-term planning process that is focused on achieving higher standards of excellence in four key areas, including science and technology. It represents the first of a series of "bridge centers" at U.Va. envisioned to integrate technology into research and teaching throughout the University's curriculum.

Minor's gift will be counted in the Campaign for the University of Virginia, which to date has raised $1.2 billion.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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