Inspired by philanthropy, ARTIS Lab is illuminated at grand opening


President Kyle celebrates the opening of the Artis Lab with the Artises and others.

The monitors and screens in the Applied Research in Technology and Information Science Laboratory (ARTIS) flared to life as President Penelope W. Kyle and Nancy '73 and H. Pat Artis pushed the white button that transformed a room in Davis Hall into a unique learning space.

They were joined by Michael Wray, Rector of the RU Board of Visitors (BOV), and Jeff Pittges, chair of the Department of Information Technology, to illuminate the "science on display" site that will also house the Applied Research Consortium to bring together students, faculty and regional industry partners for exploration of emerging enterprise technologies.

More than 70 students, faculty and information technology business leaders gathered with BOV members Matthew Crisp '04 and Georgia Anne Snyder-Falkinham, former BOV Rector Mary Ann Hovis '65, and Orion Rogers, dean of the College of Science and Technology, for the grand opening event. The ARTIS Lab is the latest in a series of philanthropic initiatives on behalf of RU and its students by the Pagosa Springs, Colorado, couple.

"Nancy and Pat solve problems with technological and educational solutions and only they could pull this off. Their investment means the university can prepare the next generation of ‘solutions providers'" said President Kyle. "Once more, the Artises have recognized the ways RU and its faculty are transforming the campus and the programs by which we serve our students."


Michael A. Wray (Rector of the Radford University Board of Visitors), Radford University Penelope W. Kyle, Jeff Pittges (Chairman, Department of Information Technology), Nancy Artis (RU Class of 1973) and Dr. H. Pat Artis react as they push the button that officially started the ARTIS Lab.

The ARTIS Lab is an advanced, high-tech collaborative workspace. Students will work with faculty and industry partners to solve real problems, such as rapid prototyping and evaluation of emerging technologies. RU students will gain technical and professional experience, distinctive for undergraduate students in the information management and assurance fields. The ARTIS lab will support RU's proposed Data and Information Management graduate program, the first of its type in Virginia.

A hub for innovation and interdisciplinary learning on behalf the entire university community, the lab will house RU's Small Project Support Center, a management organization for large on-campus technology application projects. The lab will also be home to RU's award-winning Cyber Security Team.

Pittges said the ARTIS lab will prepare RU students for roles as developers, administrators and architects of databases and information managers.

"Professional skills can't be taught, they must be experienced. Here the faculty will have a professional environment and challenges to engage our students and help them develop the soft skills to match their technical skills," Pittges said. "By engaging industry partners we can provide the community and Virginia with a workforce that can manage and protect important information assets. We are grateful to those who have made this possible, especially the Artises."


Flanking Nancy ’73 and H. Pat Artis, namesakes of the ARTIS Lab, are students from RU's Information Technology department and Professor Joseph Chase, far right.

Nancy and Pat Artis' commitment to RU students span the campus, President Kyle said. President Kyle pointed out that students work in the Artis Centennial Early Career Development Program. Students study in the Janice Eisenhart MBA Library in the College of Business and Economics (COBE), named for Nancy Artis' sister, an alumna of Radford. COBE faculty and its leadership team meet in the Nancy Eisenhart Artis Executive Conference Room. Upon completion of the new Center for the Sciences, the Artis Computing Laboratory for Biological Sciences will be a platform for student research. The Artis' also provide scholarships and underwrite unique learning opportunities for fashion design students. Nancy Artis also served a seven-year tenure on the Board of Visitors, including as vice rector and chair of four committees.

"The entire university community appreciates such enduring support," Kyle said. "We treasure this, the most recent addition to the Artis' philanthropic portfolio on behalf of Radford students. We are excited about the potential that this valuable teaching and learning resource has for our students."

H. Pat Artis dedicated the facility and spoke about inspiration.

"Nancy and I would like to inspire every one of you to become more involved with higher education," said Artis. "For more than 100 years, Radford has been an inspiration to students from Southwest Virginia and the state as a whole. The students you meet today are likely to be first generation college students and the education they receive today will forever change their lives."

Oct 13, 2014