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Roelandts Fellows Grants Fund Projects from Compressed-Air Bikes to Solar-Powered Water Purifiers

Monday, Apr. 18, 2011

Endowment for Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society Aims to Fund Ideas to Change the World for the Better

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 18, 2011 — Nearly two dozen Santa Clara University students and faculty members are researching ways to bring science and technology to underserved parts of the world, thanks to an endowment from benefactors Willem “Wim” Roelandts and Maria Constantino-Roelandts, to SCU’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society.

The Roelandts Fellows grant program provides nearly $50,000 of annual support for Santa Clara University projects focused on the study and implementation of science and technology for social benefit.

“I believe that technology can do a lot to help people progress in life,” said Wim Roelandts, a lifelong engineer and the former chairman and CEO of Xilinx. “I hope some of these ideas will result in projects that really make change on the ground, make people’s lives better somewhere –maybe even one day receive a Tech Award.”

His wife Maria Constantino-Roelandts agreed, saying the couple was especially excited to come to campus to counsel and guide the student grant recipients in any way necessary.  She said she and her husband try to get all young people who come into their orbit – including nieces, nephews and student scholarship recipients -- interested in engineering. “Engineers really are the creators of wealth, and play an important role in improving lives,” she said.

The students and faculty researchers who received grants for 2010-2011 plan to use their awards for projects such as a mobile application for piece workers in developing countries to learn if they’re getting a fair price; solar-powered water purifiers; motorized bicycles powered by clean compressed air; and bamboo housing for Haiti and elsewhere. 

The Roelandts’ have a long history of support for Santa Clara University, including as members of the university’s valued Golden Circle of donors. Wim served for more than 10 years on the advisory board of CSTS, and was granted an honorary doctorate in engineering from SCU in 2004. In addition to her activities with the Golden Circle, Maria serves on the executive committee of the SCU Board of Fellows, of which she’s been a member since 2008. 

“Santa Clara is very grateful for the Roelandts family's unwavering support of our mission and values," said Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J. "Their generous donation of expertise and funds enables us to advance technology that provides for the fundamental needs of people for a more just, humane, and sustainable world."

More about the CSTS Roelandts Fellows Grant program can be found at On May 16 the projects will be unveiled at a poster session at Benson Memorial Center, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating highereducation institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see
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