[Editor’s Note: Effective October 28, 2020, the University has made the difficult decision to pause the Connecticut Commitment, as a result of financial fallout from the global COVID-19 pandemic. First-year and transfer students currently receiving funding through the Connecticut Commitment will continue to do so, unless financial circumstances indicate they no longer qualify. UConn will continue to ensure existing aid programs are sustained to ensure ongoing financial aid support for Connecticut students who need it most.]
The University of Connecticut and Synchrony celebrated the opening of the The Synchrony Digital Technology Center at UConn Stamford in a ceremony on Monday.
The ceremony also included an announcement by Synchrony of a $1 million donation to the “Connecticut Commitment” – the new UConn initiative that allows lower-income students from the state of Connecticut to attend the University tuition-free.
Synchrony is a premier consumer financial services company delivering customized financing programs across key industries including retail, health, auto, travel and home, along with award-winning consumer banking products. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., and has 1,000 employee based in the city. It has over 80.3 million active customer accounts and counts Amazon and Pay Pal among its clients.
“Synchrony’s leading gift to support the Connecticut Commitment program is a generous investment in our students and our state’s future, helping talented low-income students who might have otherwise believed that UConn was out of reach for them. It will no doubt be inspiring for these future students, but also for other generous supporters to follow their lead. ” said UConn President Thomas C. Katsouleas. “And the Digital Technology Center is another way that Synchrony has become such a valuable partner. Synchrony and the new Center are supporting our students not only financially but with time and expertise, connecting students’ classroom knowledge to real world needs.”
Five of Synchrony’s interns from UConn demonstrated some of the company’s technology. Synchrony has hired more than 100 UConn graduates in the last several years and plans to provide dozens of paid internships in the future.
“We’re committed to Connecticut’s economic success and ensuring that local students from diverse backgrounds are equipped with the experiences and skills needed to tackle tomorrow’s challenges,” said Margaret Keane, CEO of Synchrony. “Our expanded partnership with UConn will help close the skills gap and prepare students for careers in technology throughout the state.
“We’re proud to be the first organization to contribute to the Connecticut Commitment and I hope we can inspire many others to do the same,” Keane added.
The gift to the Connecticut Commitment was made by the Synchrony Foundation through its “Families that Work” program.
The Synchrony Digital Technology Center gives UConn Stamford students an opportunity to work as user-experience designers and software engineers — and learn from Synchrony employees on a day-to-day basis. It opened for the fall 2019 semester. The work in the center is focused on research, education and innovation. It expands students’ knowledge in coding, software engineering, and user experience design.
“Students can now figure things out and troubleshoot right alongside our engineers at the Technology Center,” said Synchrony Senior Vice President for Digital Engineering Dan Murphy ‘06 (BUS), a native of Brookfield, Connecticut, who now lives in Wilton.
“The nice thing about our proximately here in Stamford is that a junior in college who is still taking development classes can sit side-by-side with our employees on daily basis. A student can really be part of the team. The Storrs campus is still very important to us in terms of big, long-term and important research projects. The Stamford campus provides a different type of business-academic relationship.”
The Digital Technology Center builds upon Synchrony’s strong partnership with UConn. In 2016, UConn’s School of Engineering and Synchrony launched the Synchrony Cybersecurity Center located in Storrs, which promotes cutting edge research in cybersecurity, one of the fastest-growing technology fields. Through the partnership, Synchrony provided an endowment for a Synchrony Chair in Cybersecurity to lead cybersecurity education at UConn and help develop a strong pipeline of information security talent.
“What you’ve done at Synchrony with UConn over the years has been nothing short of spectacular,” said Board of Trustees chairman Dan Toscano ’87 (BUS).