College of Engineering to launch digital tech initiative with gift from José Milton Foundation

The foundation’s contribution will support new courses, programs, and degrees in software engineering; fellowships; lectures; and a digital technology conference to be held at the college.
College of Engineering to launch digital tech initiative with gift from José Milton Foundation
From left: Álec Milton, College of Engineering Dean Pratim Biswas, Ana VeigaMilton, Eric Milton, and Cecil Milton.

While the technology world earlier this week converged on Miami Beach for eMerge Americas 2022, the University of Miami College of Engineering has announced a new multifaceted digital technology initiative supported by a gift from the José Milton Foundation.

“Our goal is to accelerate Miami’s technology evolution, with the University of Miami as the chosen resource for expertise, research, innovation, and training for success,” said Ana VeigaMilton, the foundation’s president and a member of the University’s Board of Trustees.

Citing the far-reaching impact of eMerge Americas 2022, an annual conference that focuses on transforming Miami into the tech hub of the hemisphere, VeigaMilton added, “South Florida must have a pipeline of talent to supply the needs and demands of tech companies. The University will be a driver of talent, coupled with our community’s entrepreneurial mindset that attracts investment.”

The José Milton Foundation’s $500,000 gift includes support for software engineering courses, fellowships, lectures, and a digital technology conference to be held at the University.

“The Milton family’s generous investment in the College of Engineering demonstrates a keen understanding of the need to foster innovative pathways for our students to learn and develop their skills at the University of Miami,” said Jeffrey L. Duerk, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “This gift will prepare our graduates to build lasting networks that will help them enhance their careers, better serve their communities, and ultimately sustain a lifelong connection to the U.”

Pratim Biswas, dean of the College of Engineering, also expressed his gratitude for the gift, which advances the college’s ability to meet the educational needs of today’s students and tomorrow’s technology workforce. “We look forward to building our software engineering program and contributing to our community’s growing position as a leader in digital technology,” he said.

VeigaMilton, who is a double alumna with degrees from the College of Engineering and School of Law and is also president of the University’s Citizens Board, said a strong software engineering program at the college will contribute to the region’s technology talent pool. “Software engineering lends itself to a remote working situation, and engineers who wish to live in Miami can make an impact around the world.”

The José Milton Foundation’s gift provides support for four new digital technology offerings:

  • The José Milton Foundation Digital Tech Initiative will support the launch of new courses, programs, and degrees in software engineering. VeigaMilton indicated that a strong software engineering program will attract a diverse talent pool of students and faculty members who collaborate to address local and global challenges. “We can take the best of what we collectively know and incorporate these ideas into solutions,” she said.
  • The José Milton Foundation Endowed Software Engineering Fellowship will furnish fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students studying software engineering with a focus on those from underrepresented communities. VeigaMilton pointed out that the digital tech space encourages and celebrates diversity of thought from different geographies and cultures.
  • The José Milton Foundation Endowed Digital Technology Lecture Series will provide funding for guest speakers to share their expertise with students, faculty, and the tech industry community. “This will be a great way to share experiences and talent and take inspiration,” said VeigaMilton. “This lecture series can enhance Miami Engineering’s connection to industry leaders, tech start-ups, and researchers. It will create opportunities for students to connect to internships and jobs, and the visiting speakers will experience the power and brightness of the U.”
  • The University of Miami Digital Technology Conference will subsidize a recurring conference presented by the University of Miami in collaboration with Florida International University, Miami Dade College, and other local academic institutions, as well as government and economic development organizations. “The South Florida community boasts world-class academic/research institutions,” said VeigaMilton. “Through the University’s Digital Tech Conference, these institutions will showcase their combined strengths as we invite the world to take notice of South Florida’s talent and entrepreneurial spirit.”

The José Milton Foundation was established by VeigaMilton’s father-in-law to support programs and organizations in South Florida that improve quality of life and close the opportunity gap, with a particular focus on education, research, and health care. The foundation supported the reimagined Milton Leadership Hall at Miami Engineering, a multipurpose space for learning and collaboration, and each year the foundation awards Advancing Minorities in STEM Scholarships to graduates of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Program.

VeigaMilton noted that the Milton family has deep ties to the University of Miami. She and her husband, Cecil, have three children, Alec, Eric, and Diana. “Alec has degrees from Miami Herbert Business School and Miami School of Architecture,” she said. “Eric has a software engineering degree from the University of Miami, and Diana earned a similar degree from Georgia Tech and is now working toward a J.D. from Miami Law.”

Looking ahead, VeigaMilton encouraged engineering students to be curious and open-minded. “Share your insights and elevate our profession by devising efficient and effective solutions that are good for individuals, good for the planet, and good for society. Work to promote liberty and quality of life for all,” she advised.