Skip navigation links

Jan. 13, 2009

IBM to locate global computer programming center at Michigan State University

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Big Blue has found a fertile spot to grow in the land of green and white, with IBM’s decision to locate an application development center on the campus of Michigan State University.


The first of its kind for the company in the United States, the IBM facility is the product of an agreement to expand MSU’s recruiting, research and educational partnerships with the information technology giant. IBM already is a top employer of MSU graduates.


The IBM Global Delivery Center for Application Services will be housed on the second floor of the former MSU Federal Credit Union headquarters on the south end of campus. A full-service MSUFCU branch on the first floor will continue to operate there.


IBM expects to start operations in the first quarter of 2009, with 100 workers projected to be on board by June. State of Michigan estimates predict up to 1,500 new direct and indirect jobs over the next five years.


“Michigan State University shares the bold vision for the role technology plays in building a diverse 21st- century economy,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. “Our partnership with IBM will involve a multidisciplinary approach that leverages the intellectual assets of several colleges, including business, engineering, natural science and social science.


“MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact,” she said. “Like IBM, MSU has a long tradition of and commitment to international engagement. Our understanding of the global environment makes us the ideal partner for this project.”


The university is a national leader in study abroad, international student enrollment and alumni Peace Corps participation. Last year MSU opened a campus in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. International expertise also is of importance to IBM, which operates application development centers overseas.


“A hallmark of our work is the ability to facilitate cross-discipline exchanges among faculty, students, corporations and government agencies at home and abroad – these are great assets to bring to the partnership,” explained Jeffrey Riedinger, dean of International Studies and Programs. “Specifically, IBM’s centers in India and Brazil will enhance MSU’s connections and exchanges for faculty and students.”


The IBM campus facility will focus on upgrading software for IBM systems used by state government and by corporations around the state. The Armonk, N.Y.-based company (NYSE: IBM), with 2007 revenues of $98.8 billion, serves more than a dozen large corporate, governmental and institutional accounts around the state. The facility also is expected to support IBM customers around the country.


 “This project demonstrates Michigan’s pledge to use technology to improve agency services, as well as a commitment to create high skilled job opportunities for its citizens,” said Charles L. Prow, Managing Partner Government, IBM Global Business Services.


IBM already partners with MSU on supply chain management and executive development programs at the Eli Broad College of Business, and in recruiting computer science students from the College of Engineering. The College of Social Science has offered to coordinate development of a program in service-science management, based on Dean Marietta Baba’s own study at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in California.


“They see talent, they see the international connections, they see most importantly the willingness to work with them,” said Satish Udpa, dean of the College of Engineering. “They are a matrix organization, we are a matrix organization and there are elements that click.”


Support from the city of East Lansing, Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), MSUFCU and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. was a key factor in IBM’s decision to locate the center in Michigan.


The application development center will occupy the 8,400-square-foot second floor of the former headquarters of the MSUFCU, which last year moved into its new facility on West Road in East Lansing. Additional expansion space for IBM is available in the building’s basement, credit union officials said.




Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.