The University of Texas at San Antonio School of Data Science will establish an endowment to support research at the school thanks to a $1 million donation from Frost Bank, the university announced Wednesday.

The Frost Excellence Fund will bolster research activities such as graduate research fellowships, undergraduate research activities, and other programs at the UTSA School of Data Science (SDS) downtown. Construction of the building is expected to be completed in summer 2022.

Frost Bank Chairman and CEO Phil Green said in a statement that the financial institution is glad to continue supporting the partnership between Frost and UTSA, which began in 1969 when the late Tom Frost Jr. advocated for the university’s establishment.

Currently, Green serves on the Be Bold Campaign Leadership Council, a group of community leaders that is heading the largest fundraising campaign in UTSA’s history. Introduced in 2017, the 10-year campaign aims to raise $500 million to support UTSA’s 10-year strategic vision.

In January, UTSA broke ground on the $90 million SDS and National Security Collaboration Center, the soon-to-be anchor of a high-tech downtown hub. The gift from Frost Bank will help the SDS gain national recognition as the university works to become a “world-class,” top-tier research university, UTSA President Taylor Eighmy said in a statement.

“The UTSA School of Data Science will serve as an innovation pioneer and a national leader in preparing students for the in-demand high-tech jobs of the future,” Eighmy said. “This work would not be possible without the support of our longstanding, valued partners including Phil Green and Frost Bank.”

UTSA announced last week the selection of David Mongeau as the founding director for the SDS. Mongeau served as the executive director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and will oversee the Frost Excellence Fund and the research areas it will support at UTSA. He starts July 1.

“Creating research opportunities at SDS will allow our students to explore data science methods and tools to solve problems that don’t have obvious solutions, both within and across their disciplines,” Mongeau said in a statement.

The School of Data Science will include about 86,000 square feet of classroom, laboratory, and research space for the 6,500 data science students projected to enroll there by 2022. UTSA’s 70-plus faculty members in cybersecurity, cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence will be located in the school, facilitating more frequent collaborations with government, industry, and community partners. The university’s Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Statistics and Data Sciences, and Information Systems and Cyber Security departments will reside in the new building, as well as its Open Cloud Institute.

Brooke Crum

Brooke Crum is the San Antonio Report's education reporter.