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A rendering of Cymer Plaza. A rendering of Cymer Plaza.
 


Meet me at Cymer Plaza

San Diego technology leader supports SDSU's Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex.
By Michael Price
 

This story appears in the spring 2016 issue of 360: The Magazine of San Diego State University. 

When San Diego State University’s Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences (EIS) Complex opens in 2018, faculty and students will enter the building by crossing Cymer Plaza.

The courtyard and plaza will be the nerve center for the EIS Complex, welcoming visitors and providing a centralized meeting space for discussing cutting-edge research or relaxing with a cup of coffee. A breezeway attached to the plaza will also provide a laser-straight connection to the library, creating an easy path to a part of campus that historically has required a bit of a trek to reach.

The plaza is the result of a $1 million gift from San Diego–based technology company Cymer, Inc., which produces lasers used in semiconductor chips and microchips.

“We’re building the EIS Complex to encourage and support collaboration between the various engineering and science disciplines, and Cymer is a company whose business is all about bringing these disciplines together,” said SDSU College of Sciences dean, Stanley Maloy.

The gift underscores the mutually beneficial relationship between Cymer and SDSU. Approximately 100 SDSU alums currently work at Cymer in science, engineering and business capacities, and the company is always looking to add talented people to its roster. Former Cymer CEO Ed Brown is an SDSU alumnus, and the company’s current vice president of technology development, Daniel Brown, sits on SDSU's Engineering Dean's Advisory Board.

“We work on a very, very complex technology, so we have a high requirement for graduates who come to work here,” said Cymer spokesperson Blake Miller. “We’re looking to work with the university to influence education, help develop the curriculum. We want to make sure when students graduate, they are ready to jump right into solving problems. SDSU is a key partner to help provide that talent.”

SDSU’s relationship with Cymer began in earnest in 2012 when the company provided support for the Cymer Advanced Physics Lab in honor of acclaimed SDSU physics professor Richard “Doc” Morris. Ever since, a steady stream of SDSU science and business interns have worked in Cymer labs and offices. One of those interns sparked the company’s interest in SDSU’s Mechatronics Club. Cymer donated $20,000 to the club, which went on to win first place in the 18th Annual RoboSub Competition.

“This ongoing investment helps us build relationships with faculty as well as with students,” Miller explained. “It’s a commitment to giving back to the community.”

The university’s relationship with Cymer will offer opportunities for science, engineering and business students to learn first-hand what skills are needed to be successful in today’s high-tech workforce, Maloy said.

“It’s hard to overstate how valuable their input is,” he said. “There are constant technological advances in industry, and we need to make sure our students are getting the most up-to-date education and skills training. Partnering with Cymer allows our students to acquire not just theoretical knowledge, but to actually work hands-on with professionals.”

In turn, Cymer benefits from its relationships with SDSU’s high-caliber researchers. The breadth of experience and expertise available at a large university can help companies like Cymer when they’re exploring possible new avenues of research and product development, Maloy added.

In addition to naming Cymer Plaza, the company’s partnership with SDSU will also launch a speaker series, bringing together experts from SDSU and Cymer to discuss science and tech trends with SDSU students and the public. SDSU plans to put together an advisory group made up of alumni who work at Cymer to provide guidance to students hoping to follow in their footsteps.

“Over time, we’re hoping this partnership is going to facilitate key faculty getting to know what we do here, whether that’s by inviting Cymer employees to campus to give technical talks, exchanging research information, or finding opportunities from collaborative work,” Miller said. “Ultimately, we want to foster and keep top talent here in San Diego and at Cymer.”