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Fletcher Jones Foundation awards U of R nearly $1 million for computer center expansion and technology-enabled learning

The 29-year-old computer center in the Armacost Library will now be known as the Fletcher Jones Center for Experiential Learning, reflecting the breadth of integrated technology services it will offer the University community.

The Fletcher Jones Foundation, a longtime partner of the University of Redlands, recently announced a $950,000 leadership grant to support expansion of the computer center on the main Redlands campus as well as increased technology-enabled learning. The 29-year-old computer center in the Armacost Library that bears the Foundation’s name will now be known as the Fletcher Jones Center for Experiential Learning, reflecting the breadth of integrated technology services it will offer the University community.

“This generous grant from the Fletcher Jones Foundation continues a long tradition of supporting technology that serves our students and faculty,” says Chief Information Officer Steve Garcia '76. “Tools for experiential learning will help us provide students access to emerging business skills.”

The grant, which completes the $10 million Educational Innovation priority within the Forever Yours campaign, includes:

  • Reconfiguring and modernizing the existing Fletcher Jones Computer Center
  • Creating a Collaboration Center, which encompasses an augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) station, a raised stage and podium for rehearsing mock lectures and presentations, a robotics and animation station, and collaboration-creation stations
  • Expanding the existing Makerspace and its 3-D scanning and printing capabilities
  • Upgrading the existing Media Production Center, enhancing video instruction and production support
  • Reconfiguring and upgrading the Critical Information Literacy Lab
  • Providing access to loanable technologies, such as laptops, headphones, chargers, and recording devices
  • Creating an Interview Suite with video technology

The enhanced ability of the University to reach and support students with technology is particularly timely, given the University’s response to COVID-19.

Annie Downey, associate provost and director of Armacost Library, welcomes the opportunity to work with campus partners and expand student opportunities. “This renovation reflects the shared commitment of the University community to transform Armacost Library into a technology and information-rich academic support hub for all U of R students,” says Downey. She notes the updates to the Critical Information Literacy Lab will refresh the classroom in which library faculty teach thousands of students each year, facilitating innovative and student-centered teaching methods.

Kelly Dries, executive director of the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD), notes the grant will help create a modernized interviewing space, which is “crucial for our students to remain competitive with Southern California employers.” In addition to interviews during on-campus recruitment events, the space can be used for virtual interviews, a method used by 60 percent of hiring managers. “We are grateful to the Foundation for helping us ensure all students have access to put their best foot forward in preparing for their future careers,” says Dries.

Based in Pasadena, The Fletcher Jones Foundation has supported private colleges and universities in California for nearly 50 years. Executive Director Mary Spellman says, “The Fletcher Jones Foundation Board is honored to assist the University of Redlands in creating the Fletcher Jones Center for Experiential Learning and providing students with the needed technology and resources to support their learning and future work. Fletcher Jones came from humble beginnings, and I believe he would be pleased that his legacy will support other students with limited resources to reach their potential through technology.”

Learn more about the Forever Yours campaign.