VMware gift supports computer science education

Computer science students in the classroom

An $800,000 endowment gift from VMware will provide in-state scholarships to financially underprivileged students from Arizona pursuing degrees in computer science at Northern Arizona University.

The gift is in honor of VMware Fellow Martin Casado, one of four VMware Fellows, who earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering at NAU. VMware is a software company that specializes in cloud and virtualization software and services.

“This philanthropic commitment by VMware reflects Martin’s success and hence what is possible with an NAU degree,” said Paul Jagodzinski, dean of the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences. “Martin’s commitment to his undergraduate institution has resulted in a gift that will have a long lasting impact on our computer science program and will provide opportunities for success for future NAU students.”

The gift is part of a broader VMware initiative to engage with the next generation of talented engineers and schools they attend. This is the first endowed full-tuition scholarship for undergraduates in the computer science program at NAU.

Casado joined VMware in August 2012 and serves as the chief technology officer of networking and security. Prior to joining VMware, he co-founded several startup companies, including Nicira and was recognized by the Association for Computing Machinery with the Grace Murray Hopper Award for the Outstanding Young Computer Professional of the Year for 2012-13. Casado received his master’s in science and doctorate in computer science from Stanford University where he remains a consulting assistant professor.

“NAU is a phenomenal source of talent, and talent that deserves recognition and cultivation,” Casado said. “To this day, some of the most impressive students I have ever interacted with I met during my years as an undergraduate at NAU. In fact, even with the depth of talent in Silicon Valley, three of the first 10 employees at Nicira were NAU alumni.”

Casado will be on campus Friday, Oct. 10, to share his entrepreneurial experiences with students, clubs and faculty. He will speak at 9 a.m. as part of Entrepreneurship Week and deliver a keynote presentation at 6:15 p.m. to kick off NAU’s Startup Weekend.