UTSA School of Data Science receives $1 million from Frost Bank for emerging research
MAY 27, 2021 — Frost Bank has committed $1 million to the UTSA School of Data Science (SDS). The gift establishes the Frost Excellence Fund endowment, which will support research-enhancing activities such as graduate research fellowships, undergraduate research activities and other research programs within the school.
The SDS is the first of its kind in Texas and is a key component in UTSA’s mission to produce highly skilled professionals in data science and analytics, advancing economic development in San Antonio’s urban core.
The SDS, currently under construction in the heart of San Antonio’s tech corridor, will include nearly 86,000 square feet of classroom, laboratory and research space for the 6,500 data science students. UTSA’s 70-plus faculty members in cybersecurity, cloud computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence will also be located there, enabling more frequent collaborations with government, industry and community partners when the building opens in summer 2022.
The partnership between UTSA and Frost Bank began in 1969, when the late Tom C. Frost, Jr. was an advocate for the university’s establishment. He served as the chair of the We Are UTSA Capital Campaign, the Development Board Chairman and Chairman Emeritus from 1990 until his passing in 2018. His sons, Don and Pat Frost, have continued his legacy serving on the Development Board and the Roadrunner Athletic Foundation Board of Directors, respectively, along with current Frost Bank Chairman and CEO, Phil Green, who currently serves on the Be Bold Campaign Leadership Council and plays an active role in nurturing the relationship between Frost Bank and the university.
“We’re pleased to continue Frost’s support of UTSA, and we applaud the work Dr. Eighmy is doing to enhance the Downtown Campus,” Green said. “The School of Data Science will be an excellent addition to the growth and renewal of the western part of downtown San Antonio.”
Last week, UTSA announced the selection of the founding director for the School of Data Science. David Mongeau has a reputation for leading data science and analytics research institutes and training programs, as well as his unparalleled ability to develop impactful partnerships across government, industry, academia and the philanthropic community to advance collaboration in data science. On July 1, 2021, he will join UTSA from the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as executive director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science. Mongeau will oversee the Frost Excellence Fund and the research areas in which it will be directed toward within the SDS.
“Creating research opportunities at the SDS will allow our students to explore data science methods and tools to solve problems that don’t have obvious solutions, both within and across their disciplines,” Mongeau said. “I am so appreciative of the gift from Frost Bank, not only because it will serve our students but because it can support faculty coming together around the emerging interdisciplinary research areas in which UTSA can further excel.”
Frost Bank has ensured that this endowment will provide maximum flexibility to support emerging research opportunities and the changing needs of research so that new data science directions can be addressed timely and efficiently. Notably, the SDS is a cornerstone in UTSA’s vision to earn national recognition as a research-intensive institution as UTSA continues to work toward attaining National Research University Fund (NRUF) eligibility and aims for an R1 Carnegie Classification.
“The UTSA School of Data Science will serve as an innovation pioneer and a national leader in preparing students for the in-demand high-tech jobs of the future,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “This work would not be possible without the support of our longstanding, valued partners including Phil Green and Frost Bank. Through the Frost Excellence Fund and its continued investment in our students and faculty, UTSA is bringing unparalleled research and training opportunities to students and advancing the university’s reputation as a world-class research institution.”
UTSA and Frost Bank’s partnership is based on advocacy of student success, community outreach, and strategic growth. UTSA has been the beneficiary of over $3.7 million in diversified funding from both Frost Bank and the Frost family. As a result of this valued partnership, over 180 UTSA alumni now work for Frost Bank — some playing major leadership roles that continue to shape Frost Bank and the community it serves.
For over 150 years, Frost Bank has headquartered its operations in downtown San Antonio and is committed to the economic development of the city’s urban core and the university’s continued Downtown Campus expansion. Frost Bank’s legacy of working with UTSA endures today as this partnership continues to create invaluable opportunities for the university and the city of San Antonio.