CORVALLIS - Beaverton-based Tektronix, Inc. has extended its support of the Oregon State University College of Engineering by equipping a high-tech lab, supporting hands-on learning and expanding diversity efforts.

As part of the gift, the company is outfitting the analog-mixed signal laboratory in the new Kelley Engineering Center, which is scheduled to open this fall.

Tektronix is providing specialized test and measurement equipment that will help OSU faculty and graduate students develop new technologies involving the digital and analog worlds. These technologies are used in products such as cell phones, air bags and many other practical applications where digital and analog information is used in one device.

Terri Fiez, director of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, said the equipment will help advance the college's teaching, research and reputation. "This donation helps our nationally-recognized mixed-signal program continue moving to an elite level."

The recent pledge follows a 2001 contribution by Tektronix, which provided the seed money to launch the TekBots program. Through TekBots, engineering students build interactive robots beginning their freshman year and add features and functionality as their engineering knowledge grows over their undergraduate careers.

To expand the program, Tektronix will help bring TekBots - and the benefits of hands-on learning - into several more OSU engineering courses. The TekBots program has received widespread attention among educators for its success in teaching abstract theory to students who apply classroom lessons to real-world projects. It has been adopted by the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Texas A&M University and is being evaluated by other universities in the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Japan and Taiwan.

In a third component of the gift, Tektronix will also help extend the Tektronix Scholars program, which is designed to recruit and retain women and underrepresented minority students. The program pairs first-year students with faculty and graduate students to actively engage them in engineering research.

According to Ellen Momsen, director of the Women and Minorities in Engineering program, the practical, hands-on approach to learning makes a big difference in a discipline where the first two years include a lot of abstract background courses in chemistry, physics and math.

"To get to 'real' engineering is crucial," Momsen said. "Research shows that when women and minorities are involved in research experiences, it builds their confidence, creates connections with mentors and reinforces why they want to be engineers."

Ron Adams, dean of the College of Engineering, says Tektronix' philanthropy fits well with the college's mission to shape "work-ready" engineers.

"Every aspect of Tektronix' generous support enhances our students' ability to turn ideas into innovative, real-world solutions, shaping them into better engineers who will help build a brighter world," he said. "This is what engineering education is all about."

Tektronix and its affiliated foundation have provided more than $6 million in scholarships, research funding and equipment to OSU over the last 25 years.

In recognition of the company's long-standing support, the TekBots research and development laboratory in OSU's new 153,000-square-foot Kelley Engineering Center will be named for Tektronix.

Tektronix, Inc. is a test, measurement, and monitoring company providing measurement solutions to the communications, computer and semiconductor industries worldwide. Headquartered in Beaverton, Tektronix has operations in 19 countries worldwide.

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Ron Adams, 541-737-7722