University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumnus and former employee Ronald J. Lockard of McKinney, Texas, has made a $100,000 gift to provide support for computer science and engineering students in the UNL College of Arts and Sciences.
The gift establishes the Lockard Family Scholarship and Fellowship Fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation. The expendable fund will provide awards to undergraduate and graduate students planning a career in computer science and engineering, a career field the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will increase more than 20 percent by 2022.
“The generous support by Ron Lockard and his family will provide opportunities for students from across Nebraska to pursue a degree in computing and will in turn help to create a larger and more diverse workforce for the state’s burgeoning technology industry,” said Matthew Dwyer, chair of the UNL computer science and engineering department. “Lockard Scholars have the chance to study and learn in a world-class program and then to work in world-class companies, all right here in Nebraska.”
Lockard grew up in Stella, where his mother, Nellie Lee Lockard, still resides. He received an undergraduate degree in math and physics, did graduate work in computer science, math and physics, and received a master of business administration from UNL. He received the university’s Regents Scholarship, was an initial member of the Nebraska Career Scholars Program for independent studies and was a member of Sigma Pi Sigma National Physics Honorary Society. As a graduate assistant at UNL, he developed statistical programs for various campus departments.
After graduation, Lockard was programming manager and assistant director of computing services at UNL. He went on to establish Technical Management Inc., a computer service bureau for the life insurance industry, and Transactions Applications Group, a 1,000-employee insurance third-party administration company. He is founder and CEO of Curazene, a biotechnology company in Texas.
Lockard has also worked to develop pattern recognition routines and storage techniques for use in learning programs and has developed new linear programming techniques used to create a land-use database and model for the entire United States. His innovations in computer science and engineering earned him a spot in the Nebraska Hall of Computing in 2015.
In addition to his philanthropic efforts at UNL, Lockard has been a board member and president of the Lincoln Independent Business Association, chairman of the Nebraska Small Business Council and a board member of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Lockard’s gift provides support for Our Students, Our Future, an initiative to secure $200 million in donations by the end of 2017 to directly benefit students across the University of Nebraska system. Gifts to the University of Nebraska Foundation are sought to support scholarships, student programs, student learning facilities and other student-focused priorities on each campus.