Santa Clara University

Wim and Maria Roelandts

Supporting Global Innovation

In their work with Santa Clara University, Wim and Maria Roelandts appreciate the value of education and the world-changing innovations it makes possible. The first in their families to attend college, life’s path brought them to careers in Silicon Valley and front-row seats for the evolution of new technologies.

Wim’s engineering background and senior management roles at Hewlett-Packard and Xilinx honed his perspective on the transformative power of innovation, and he found a unique opportunity to bring its benefits to the underserved through SCU’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS).

“The Center’s objectives really corresponded with my own view,” says Wim. “Examining how technology can benefit humanity and society in general, and going beyond the purely technical aspects to look at policy, government involvement and economics.”

After Wim’s many years of service on the CSTS Advisory Board, he and Maria formed a philanthropic partnership with the Center to support student and faculty innovations through the Willem P. Roelandts and Maria Constantino-Roelandts Grant Program in Science and Technology for Social Benefit. Providing nearly $50,000 in annual support, the Roelandts Fellowship grants are awarded to students and faculty researchers whose work emphasizes the use of science and technology to benefit underserved communities around the globe. Recent projects have included bamboo housing for Haiti, a motorized bike powered by clean compressed air, a portable solar/hydrogen fuel cell generator for off-grid electrification to meet basic needs, and a mobile application that helps piece workers in developing countries learn if they’re getting a fair price.

Passionate about the potential of this work, Wim and Maria enjoy guiding and encouraging student and faculty grantees, and are likewise inspired by their ingenuity and commitment to service of the world beyond SCU.

“We’re hands-on people,” says Maria, who also has a record of providing scholarship support through SCU’s Board of Fellows. “We like to see what’s going on and add our own advice, value and critique so that the program can be successful.”

“The counseling and the coaching that we can provide are part of the whole adventure here,” adds Wim. “I’ve always said that young people don’t know what is impossible, so they often achieve it! These students and faculty members are coming up with solutions that no one has ever talked about before.”

Wim and Maria are also pleased to support SCU’s mission of educating future leaders of competence, conscience and compassion -- the kinds of professional problem-solvers who generously share their talents and know-how to build a better world.

“Santa Clara is a really unique school in the sense that it not only teaches the mechanics but also values,” says Wim. “Education is not just about accumulating knowledge, but also about defining your values in life, and we think Santa Clara University does a very good job of that. When we meet others and they ask about SCU, we certainly recommend giving to the University for that reason alone.”

Learn more about the Roelandts Fellowships here.

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