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Computer-maker Cybertron pledges gift valued at $2.5 million for Wichita State University

Photo of Cybertron Press Conference
Announcing Cybertron’s gift commitment to Wichita State at a news conference in January were, from left, WSU Foundation President and CEO Elizabeth King; WSU President John Bardo; Keith Pickus, WSU Foundation vice president for corporate and foundation relations; Royce Bowden, dean of the WSU College of Engineering; Cybertron President and CFO Shadi Marcos; Cybertron CEO Ahmed Aziz; and Cybertron COO Emad Mekhail.

It’s fitting that the founders of computer-maker Cybertron International wanted their gift to Wichita State University to support the mission of the Innovation Campus.

Everything the Cybertron leaders did to create their high-tech company, and everything they continue to do to move it to the next level, is focused on innovation — creating something so valuable and essential and next-generation that demand for it follows.

“All of us recognize the importance of innovation,” said Ahmed Aziz, Cybertron’s CEO. “We’re excited to see WSU taking giant steps toward developing students who can contribute creatively to a world that is changing so rapidly, especially in the area of technology.”

Cybertron’s pledge to the WSU Foundation, valued at $2.5 million, will place the company’s computers and monitors in every lab and learning space in the Experiential Engineering Building, set to open next January on the Innovation Campus. The gift commitment, unveiled last month at Cybertron’s Wichita headquarters, also includes five years of desktop support. Founded in 1997 by three Wichita State alumni — Aziz, Shadi Marcos and Emad Mekhail — Cybertron is Kansas’ largest personal computer manufacturer. The company employs about 130 people and also provides managed IT services.

WSU President John Bardo hailed Cybertron as the kind of tech-based company that Wichita State seeks to partner with as it develops the Innovation Campus and pursues a mission of helping the region’s economy grow and diversify.

Wichita State will recognize Cybertron’s donation by placing its name on the Flight Simulation and Gaming Hub, one of 25 labs in the Experiential Engineering Building. Specially built computers for gaming are a major part of Cybertron’s business. A gaming facility in the hub will offer educational and recreational opportunities for WSU students, Bardo said. “Gaming is a huge teaching tool and one where we have a lot of potential for growth,” he said. “I’m excited that Cybertron wants to support what’s happening at Wichita State. The entrepreneurial mindset these successful alumni exemplify will be a tremendous inspiration to our students.”

Revealing the new PC
Shadi Marcos, president and CFO of Cybertron International, unveils a custom-designed computer featuring Wichita State colors and logos. All of the computers donated by Cybertron will be similarly designed.

The gift is a substantial boost for the Experiential Engineering Building project, said Royce Bowden, dean of the WSU College of Engineering. “Cybertron’s leadership shares our vision for how important the EEB labs will be to the success of our students,” Bowden said. “They are individuals who recognize the value of preparing graduates with not only advanced engineering skills, but also a creative confidence and entrepreneurial bent.”

Cybertron’s top three executives all have WSU ties. Aziz earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Wichita State and is working toward a doctorate in engineering. Marcos, Cybertron’s president and CFO, graduated from Wichita State in 1996 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. He is pursuing an MBA at another institution. Mekhail, the company’s COO, also attended WSU.

“We identify with Wichita State because we were all just students when we set out to start our own business,” Marcos said. “The first few years were very tough, but we persevered and now find ourselves in a position to help other young men and women do so as well.”

The computers that Cybertron donates to Wichita State will be branded with WSU logos and colors. Recognition of the in-kind gift also will include naming the lobby of the Experiential Engineering Building for Cybertron, as well as two other learning spaces in the building — the computer studio and the collaborative software studio, said Keith Pickus, vice president for corporate and foundation relations for the WSU Foundation.

“This gift is an extraordinary investment in Wichita State, its faculty and its students,” Pickus said. “It represents a strong belief in the university’s mission and, we hope, is the start of a partnership that will strengthen the contributions that both WSU and Cybertron make to the economic wellbeing of this region.”

 
Photos from the news conference can be found on Our Media Page.