For William "Hal" Gentry, '82 BS, computer science, supporting the SIUE School of Engineering means supporting the future of the field of engineering as a whole. Hal believes this support serves to enhance not only the School itself, but also the success of the next generation of innovators.
With more than 25 years of experience in software engineering, Hal Gentry knows a thing or two about success in the industry. He was the founder and CEO of Gentry Systems and GridLogix, two start-up software companies that were eventually sold to larger companies. Hal was also a founding member of the GridWise Alliance Council and has presented at numerous industry conferences and published several articles in industry trade publications. He is currently an investor, board member and mentor for several early stage businesses.
While Hal gives credit to the SIUE School of Engineering for his success, he deserves credit himself for encouraging the success of the many engineering students and alumni that have followed in his footsteps.
"Through my education at SIUE, I was able to be a founder and CEO of a few companies, which helped create jobs in the software industry," Hal said. "Many of those jobs went to SIUE students and alumni."
This full-circle effect is something Hal is very proud of, and would like to see continue. He places particular emphasis on supporting programs like the annual robotics competition and providing scholarship funds for students.
"Being able to offer programs and provide scholarships is important from a recruiting standpoint," Hal said. "The robotics competitions reach potential students years before they start thinking about college, and scholarships give opportunities to students who may not otherwise be able to attend college."
Hal said that recruiting the best and brightest students is important for enhancing the stature of the School, which in turn provides more opportunities for SIUE alumni.
"I want SIUE students to have the same opportunities as students from other top universities as they enter the field professionally," Hal said. "The School of Engineering gave me the foundation to be successful and I want to give back."
Hal and his wife, Jean, have contributed to an endowed scholarship for an outstanding computer science student and sponsor a team in Botball, the educational robotics program.