The University of Notre Dame opened its Palo Alto facility on Feb. 10 and held its first classes for the Notre Dame Silicon Valley Semester (SVS) program there on Thursday (Feb. 16).
The facility, home to Notre Dame California, was constructed in an AT&T building in downtown Palo Alto. It combines a state-of-the-art teaching space with room for 55 students, flexible and open “innovation space,” two conference rooms, an office and access to a larger conference room and a break area, the latter two spaces shared with building owner AT&T. The facility supports multiple two-way video streams — a key component of the instructional model for several of the SVS courses underway.
The collaboration with AT&T on this space was established by Notre Dame alumnus John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president of AT&T Technology and Operations. “Mr. Donovan’s team worked extensively with the Notre Dame California team on the layout, design, construction and equipping of the space,” said Patrick Flynn, Duda Family Professor of Engineering and interim director of Notre Dame California. “That a project of this size and scope could be executed so quickly, from concept to completion, in a building that is so significant to AT&T’s Silicon Valley operations is a testimony to the growing collaboration between AT&T and the University.”
“Notre Dame’s commitment to its students, faculty and a comprehensive learning experience helps define it as a forward-looking university,” said Donovan. “This facility builds on last year’s announced online master’s degree in data science collaboration, and we are thrilled to support the University’s mission here.”
The renovation and furnishing were funded by AT&T, which is allowing Notre Dame to use the facility. Notre Dame California staff members Flynn, Kaci Kelly, talent and employer relations specialist, and Jessica Rizzo, regional director of development, will use this space as their home office in the state. In addition to classroom offerings, the Palo Alto facility will host individuals and groups of visitors from the South Bend campus, meetings of the Notre Dame California Advisory Board, groups of students visiting from South Bend and other events.
At a future date, the Palo Alto facility will be formally dedicated with a Notre Dame leadership delegation in attendance along with Notre Dame California staff, advisory board members and representatives from AT&T.