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Santa Clara University to christen The Bus, a mobile computer lab for elementary school kids

SANTA CLARA, Calif. Nov. 30, 2004 The Operations and Management Information Systems (OMIS) department of the Leavey School of Business and the OMIS Student Network (OSN) are literally driving educational computer training right to the front door of local elementary schools. 

After placing the winning bid on a school bus up for grabs on e-Bay, the OMIS department, chaired by Associate Professor Manoochehr Ghiassi, decided to convert the yellow bus into a mobile computer lab, complete with desks, chairs, and 10 computer terminals loaded with educational software.

“We are helping close the digital divide,” said Ghiassi. “We can literally drive the information superhighway over to the schools.”

When student volunteers from OMIS would visit local schools for tutoring sessions, they often found themselves troubleshooting computer problems, or faced with inadequate hardware or software.

“Our mobile lab takes care of that problem,” said Ghiassi. “We drive the bus and the computers to the school, and provide the instructors and learning space all at the same time.”

“The computers, the software, the desks, the chairs, and the instructors, are all under one school bus roof,” he added.

Together, SCU and the OMIS department have fully sponsored the project. A grant of $15,000 and donations and gifts provided the funding to configure the bus with the necessary elements for a mobile computer lab. Christened the SCU-OMIS Mobile Computer Lab, and painted in SCU’s school colors, this steerable community outreach program is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. Ghiassi encourages SCU students to volunteer for this novel program, and hopes that other SCU departments will join in.

“Our goal is to drive to one school per week,” said Ghiassi.

SCU President Paul Locatelli, S.J., the OMIS Department, the OSN, and University faculty, staff, and students will gather for a special “open bus” event on Dec. 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in front of Mission Santa Clara.

For more information about the SCU-OMIS mobile computer lab, contact Manoochehr Ghiassi at 554-4867, or  To volunteer for the bus project, contact the OMIS Student Network via e-mail at

About the Leavey School of Business

The Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University began in 1926, and was one of the first business schools in the country to receive national accreditation. Its undergraduate business program is recognized as one of the best in California, and its MBA program is ranked 10th in the nation among part-time graduate programs for working professionals. More than 80 percent of its 1,100 MBA student body are working professionals in the Bay Area.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,047 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the second-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is online at



<p>SCU President Paul Locatelli, S.J. and Dr. Manoochehr Ghiassi at the blessing of the bus.</p>

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