The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has been designated Microsoft Corp.'s first-ever "Information Technology (IT) Showcase School," under a new Microsoft program that aims to highlight IT excellence in higher education.

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer made the announcement at the university's W.E.B. Du Bois Library as UMass-Amherst officially opened its new technology center, the Learning Commons, in late October. The designation has earned UMass-Amherst not only continued funding and support from Microsoft, but also legitimacy as a leader in the field of IT--which could prove important for recruiting students and faculty and for funding new


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