Gift from Daniel E. Offutt III Charitable Trust supports construction of new building, lecturers in CSE
A $400,000 gift from the Daniel E. Offutt III Charitable Trust has been made for the benefit of the College of Engineering and the School of Information.
$300,000 of the gift will be used for construction of the forthcoming Leinweber Computer Science and Information Building. The future building on the University of Michigan’s North Campus will be the new home for the School of Information (UMSI) and will provide expansion space for the Computer Science and Engineering Division (CSE) of Michigan Engineering, bringing the two units together under one roof for the first time. In recognition of this gift, the maker’s space on the first floor of the new building will be named the Richard Orenstein and Daniel Offutt Maker’s Laboratory.
$100,000 of the gift will be used to establish the David Chesney Lecturer Support Fund in CSE. Inspired by the activities of Toby Teorey Collegiate Lecturer David Chesney, the fund will support the activities of teaching faculty in CSE. Chesney is well known for his work in engineering for the greater good, in which he engages his students in projects designed to address the challenges of individuals with disabilities or to otherwise create technical interventions for societal good.
The late Mr. Offutt graduated from the University of Maryland and received an MBA from Columbia University in 1965. His career was as a stock trader. His longtime friend and colleague, Richard Orenstein, made the gift on behalf of the Trust.
Richard Orenstein (BS Math 1962) was a student at U-M from 1958–1962, a time period during which computing was still emerging as an area of research and as a discipline at the University. Some classes in computation were being developed and offered, but an undergraduate program would not be formed until 1965. Orenstein, who had a strong interest in the nascent field, took as many classes in computing as he could and majored in math. He continues to hold a strong interest in computing-related research at Michigan.
After completion of his degree, Orenstein took a post at MIT, where he was a part of the team that developed and implemented the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) at the MIT Computation Center in 1963. CTSS was created to increase the efficiency of debugging and running large applications, and to make feasible new classes of applications. In 1967, along with others, he founded Computer Software Systems, later renamed National CSS, which was sold in 1979.