group of men in suits accepting a check
The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Business accepted a $100,000 gift from SAIC on Thursday, March 30, 2023. Participating in the check presentation are, from left to right, SAIC Deputy Program Manager John Possel; SAIC Senior Director Chuck Lewis; SAIC Vice President for Civil Space Joe Poist; Patrick Doolin, an information systems major and College of Business ambassador; Business Dean Dr. Jason Greene; UAH President Dr. Charles Karr, and NASA Associate Chief Information Officer for Applications Shenandoah Speers.
Michael Mercier | UAH

Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) continued its support of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Business by presenting a $100,000 gift to UAH officials on March 30. Starting in 2009, SAIC has made this $100,000 gift each year to the College of Business at UAH, a part of The University of Alabama System.

“We are grateful for the long-standing collaboration with SAIC and the impact they have had on undergraduate and graduate students in our information systems programs,” says Business Dean Dr. Jason Greene. “They are critical partners with us in providing an excellent business education that serves the needs of our community. By providing access to hands-on enterprise systems tools, our partnership has helped launch careers for students who fill an important workforce need for SAIC and our community.”

SAIC’s gift is part of a continuing effort to support the integration of modern enterprise technologies into the classroom, support students in obtaining professional certifications, assist faculty development and research and extend community outreach. SAIC’s support helps enable the College of Business to fully realize the benefits of being an academic partner with several leading technology partners, including SAP, Oracle, Amazon Web Services and CompTIA.

“SAIC, with the support of NASA, has been supporting the college’s SAP initiatives and our programs in information systems, supply chain and business analytics for well over a decade,” says Dr. Ravi Patnayakuni, a professor in the College of Business.

“The contribution has made it possible for the college to create opportunities and provide resources to our students as they enter the workforce. We are able to train our students on state-of-the-art enterprise technologies that are used in the modern workplace. The impact of SAIC’s gifts is simply immeasurable and will only continue to grow. It will enable us to continue expanding the footprint of enterprise technologies in our curriculum and programs, touching the lives of hundreds of our students as they launch their careers.”

One of those students is Patrick Farnell, who works for Huntsville Utilities as the director of application development. He says the courses in SAP, the market leader in enterprise application software, granted him access to the newest generation of SAP cloud environments. The hands-on learning courses provided him with valuable skills and understanding that were beneficial in advancing his career.

Sneha Suluru, a senior consultant in enterprise risk at Ernst & Young, says the real-time lab experience allowed them to understand enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems prior to entering the workforce. ERP software is used by a company to manage key parts of operations, including accounting and resource management.

Access to SAP’s ERP system also proved invaluable to Nicholas Ranta, a senior staff accountant at Brand Blackwell: “This early access to their technology not only changed the course of my college career, but my professional career as well. The skills and tools I learned from interacting with SAP’s products have allowed me to advance my career and to be on the forefront of accounting’s digitization.”

SAIC Vice President for Civil Space Joe Poist says SAIC’s partnership with UAH “is one of the things that I’m glad and impressed that we are continuing to do.” Speaking of the need to engage younger people in the workforce with the newest technologies, Poist says, “If your students are not changing the world, we are not doing our job. We have to deliver. We can’t just do it the old ways. We are delivering excellence to our customers because of this investment. We want to continue to grow this workforce.”

SAIC, a technology integrator with more than 25,000 employees, is a longtime supporter of the SAP program in the College of Business. In 2006, after receiving a grant from SAP University Alliances to access the software, UAH asked SAIC for additional assistance to train faculty to develop and teach courses with SAP content, and SAIC recognized the benefit of partnering with UAH to help grow a local workforce of trained SAP professionals. SAIC supports both the NASA and Army missions at Redstone Arsenal.