Donors and Friends

Scrugham Medal Award

The James G. Scrugham Medal is an award initiated by the College in 2006 to acknowledge both successful alumni and James G. Scrugham, a distinguished Nevadan who was the first Dean of the College of Engineering. Each year this award is given to one or more alumni who have demonstrated success in their chosen profession.

2017 Winner

Elizabeth Xu '95 M.S. (computer science)

Elizabeth Xu

Dr. Elizabeth Xu is a well-respected technologist, investor, author, high-tech executive, coach and speaker.  She has 20 years of rich experience in AI, big data, architecture, cloud and SaaS mission-critical enterprise software development.

Most recently, Dr. Xu drove technology direction and strategy as the CTO and SVP Technology at BMC Software, the leader in IT management software with more than 2 billion in revenue.  She also held other senior executive positions as group VP at Acxiom, the largest big data company in the world, and SVP of product development at Rearden and Vitria Technology. She also held management positions at IBM developing the Content Management Suite and DB2.

Dr. Xu teaches “Ten Steps to a Successful Career” at Stanford Continuing Studies and co-authored “Myths of the Promotion: 10 Steps to a Successful Career.” She holds one patent in web security.

Dr. Xu serves on the board of directors for Be The Change Foundation, WITI and other private companies. She is also on the Computer Science and Engineering department advisory board at the University of Nevada, Reno.

She co-founded Be the Change Foundation and WeiMing Angel Investment Group. She dedicates her time to Children’s Sleep Apnea Awareness, creativity, and mentoring K-12 students and working professionals. 

For her outstanding achievement in business and contribution to the community, she was named to the 2017 WITI Hall of Fame Fame, named to the Women of Influence in 2013, and awarded ten Stevie Awards. Dr. Xu holds a bachelor’s degree in space physics and an M.S. in atmospheric science from Peking University as well as an M.S. in computer science and a Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has completed SEP at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

See all Scrugham Medal winners

Tech innovator, Travelocity founder Terry Jones gives 2017 Distinguished Lecture

Terry JonesTerry Jones, founder of Travelocity. com, co-founder of, and currently with, gave the College of Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series, speaking on "Demystifying Artificial Intelligence."

Jones' influential work in the world of entrepreneurship and his newly published book ON Innovation has lead him to become a powerful voice commenting on the growth of technology. He has begun to give discussions on Artificial Intelligence, its implications on the work force, and how it impacts the world around us.

Having spent the last three years investigating and implementing AI-based solutions, Jones has a unique perspective on AI and why it is so important to the 21st century. Even though AI has been in construction since the 1950s, Jones talk focused on why now is a critical moment for AI and how, over time, all work will be changed by the power of Artificial Intelligence. Using examples like Google's Predictive Suggestions; Amazon's Alexa; Microsoft's Cortana and IBM's Watson, Jones discussed what he terms the battle for the edge - how the most innovative companies are working to make it easier and easier for customers to shop and buy anytime using AI.

Become a Corporate Partner and make a world of difference

Barrick corporate logo

bombora corporate logo

Click Bond corporate logo

GE corporate logo

Sierra Nevada Corporation corporate logo

Wedco corporate logo

With enrollment nearly doubling in the past decade, renovations to the historic Palmer building complete, and the new 90,000 square foot William N. Pennington Engineering Building set to break ground in fall of 2018, the only constant for the College of Engineering has been change.

But one thing that hasn't changed is the emphasis on working with local businesses to bridge the gap between academics and industry. The Corporate Partners program provides an instrumental building block for the College and allows companies to develop relationships with students, advocate for particular learning objectives framed by industry needs, and connect with faculty to collaboratively help each other grow. The program aligns with the College’s mission to provide a state-of-the-art education while creating and disseminating new knowledge and innovative technologies to address the technological, societal and economic diversification needs of the state, the nation and the world.

“Nevada is home to a number of exceptional businesses committed to employing graduates of the University. The Corporate Partners program allows these firms the opportunity to connect and collaborate with the College to ensure that the skills we foster in our students remain on the cutting edge and have immediate application in thriving firms with local ties,” Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering, said.

As a Corporate Partner, these select companies attend an annual meeting with the dean, associate dean and department chairs to advocate for curriculum needs that respond to industry trends. Partners are invited to events with our students, including the Engineering Spring Celebration, seminars, lectures and senior capstone classes. In connecting with students through the College’s career fair, Engineers Week and the Society of Women Engineers, Corporate Partners have the opportunity to identify talented students who would succeed in their firms.

Generous support from this program is one of the reasons the College has grown in so many areas. The funds have allowed for proactive community outreach to educate local K-12 students, reaching over 2,500 students in the classroom. The program also builds a sense of community through the annual Welcome Back BBQ and Spring Celebration. Most importantly, it is essential in educating and connecting engineering students with industry leaders.

You can join the Corporate Partners program with a $10,000 gift (of which $8,800 is tax-deductible) to the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation—College of Engineering. For more information about the program, please contact Scott Krizman at (775) 682-7695 or Flynn Ginty at 775-682-7696.