New Paltz works with IBM to create virtual lab

NEW PALTZ — The State University of New York at New Paltz is working with IBM to create an e-business laboratory that will be a key component of the School of Business’ increasingly hi-tech curriculum.

The SUNY New Paltz/IBM e-business Virtual Lab links the university to an IBM Mainframe system that contains databases and business applications running on the open-source Linux operating system.

Linux is the underlying software architecture that runs more than 65 percent of the Web servers on the Internet today. As “open-source,” it is popular, free and continuously developed by a global network of voluntary enthusiasts.

By working with IBM, SUNY New Paltz will be assisted in running state-of-the-art technology with the ability to seamlessly expand capacity and applications based on the growing demands of the Business School, while providing students with hands-on experience with the latest technology skills.

“The School of Business is entrepreneurial by design,” said Hadi Salavitabar, the school’s dean. “With this lab, we know our students will learn with the latest technology, and they will take their ‘cutting-edge’ experience from the classroom to a corporate environment actively seeking these skills.”

Running multiple Linux images on the IBM mainframe, students in the lab will have access to the virtual equivalent of their own mainframe.

“The creation of this e-business Virtual Lab is an extraordinary accomplishment,” said Vincent Cozzolino, vice president for IBM’s eServer Development Operations and a member of New Paltz’ Business Advisory Council. “It will be of significant value to the students in the MBA program and to all students in the School of Business.”

SUNY New Paltz and IBM worked together for more than a year to develop the lab. A critical component of the collaboration was the active involvement of the school’s Business Advisory Council, which includes several business leaders from the Hudson Valley.

“IBM again demonstrates its outstanding community citizenship by offering its technology to the students and faculty of the new SUNY New Paltz Business School,” said Taylor Thompson, Sr., chairman of the Business Advisory Council and CEO of Sperry Mitchell and Company. “We hope this leads the way for other businesses to cooperate with the school to ensure that our students’ education and training reflect the needs of the job market.”

The Business Advisory Council’s lead for technology, Carl Meyer, president and COO of Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corp., added, “The cutting-edge info technology made available to students through this public/private partnership will enable them to gain valuable, hands-on business experience, and prepare them to successfully compete in today’s global markets.”

The virtual lab is a continuation of an ongoing relationship between SUNY New Paltz and IBM to address the needs of the academic and business communities.

“The value of this arrangement goes far beyond the classroom,” said Greg Harwick, IBM Enterprise Servers and also a member of the Business Advisory Council. “This is a demonstration of the commitment of IBM to public higher education and regional economic development. It also demonstrates the continuing ability of SUNY New Paltz to build ties to the business community, meet changing needs of the workplace, and deliver on the promise of a quality educational experience to students.”

The SUNY New Paltz/IBM e-business Virtual Lab is the latest of several high-profile enhancements made possible through the efforts of volunteer supporters and generous donors.

In the spring, longtime New Paltz supporters Louis and Mildred Resnick donated $90,000 to the university to create nursing scholarships. The scholarship program is designed to attract and retain nurses in the Hudson Valley. There are now 20 Resnick Nursing Scholars enrolled at New Paltz.

In 2000, Jim Ottaway Jr. donated funds to endow the James H. Ottaway Sr. Professorship in Journalism. Earlier this week, the university announced that Bernard Stein, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer, will be the Ottaway Professor for the spring semester. He succeeds Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sydney Schanberg who taught during the spring 2001 semester.

“We’ve grown as a university that offers excellence in all areas – education, the arts, business, engineering and the liberal arts,” said David Lavallee, the university’s provost. “IBM’s confidence in our relatively young School of Business is testimony to the success and dedication of the dean, the faculty, an aggressive advisory council, and a strong, involved alumni base.”

The School of Business offers the bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting, and the MBA, with concentrations in accounting, finance, marketing, management, information and knowledge management, and international business.

MBA classes beginning in January will use the SUNY New Paltz/IBM e-business Virtual Lab.

“Our tech-savvy students are already lining up to get into the lab,” said Chih-Yang Tsai, a business professor and faculty lead for the partnership. “While the lab will not be formally incorporated into classes until next semester, we will bring students in there this semester for a test ride.”