RICHLAND, Wash. — CH2M HILL Hanford Group Wednesday announced it would give a $2 million endowment to Washington State University Tri-Cities, the largest donation ever given to the branch campus.

CH2M HILL Hanford Group President Fran DeLozier announced the grant at a news conference also attended by WSU President V. Lane Rawlins and WSU Tri-Cities Campus Executive Officer and Dean Larry James.

The endowment of $2 million in cash and in-kind contributions over six years will be used to support information technology and entrepreneurial programs.

“This generous gift enables Washington State University to continue expanding the critical delivery of computer science and information technology education in the mid-Columbia region, as well as advance our efforts in other programs,” said Dean Larry James.

The endowment formalizes CH2M HILL Hanford Group’s commitment to continue supporting WSU Tri-Cities programs. The grant will benefit education in management information systems and computer science, as well as the Southeastern Washington Business Information Center, WSU Tri-Cities’ Business LINKS and Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Program.

“Information technology jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities will be available locally,” said DeLozier. “We don’t need to create them. We are helping to provide WSU with the resources to prepare people for these jobs, while making an effort to keep them and their talent in our community. It makes economic sense to strengthen our community in this way.”

The grant continues support to strengthen the university’s computer science program. In the last year, CH2M HILL funding enabled WSU to increase its computer science faculty by 50 percent and offer a broader array of course work.

Continued support for WSU Business LINKS will help students and area businesses. Last summer, 28 LINKS interns were placed in Tri-Cities businesses and nonprofit and government organizations.

A Columbia Basin College/WSU transfer office established and operated with continued support from CH2M HILL is helping as many as 70 students a week. The goal is to make it easier for CBC transfer-bound students to stay in the area and earn their degrees.

Support for the MESA program will help area students that are underrepresented in mathematics, engineering, and science to achieve their potential and pursue careers in the fields.

As the Department of Energy Office of River Protection’s prime contractor, CH2M HILL Hanford Group is responsible for storing and retrieving for treatment roughly 53 million gallons of highly radioactive and hazardous waste stored in 177 underground tanks at DOE’s Hanford site.

An employee-owned company, CH2M HILL was founded in 1946. Today the firm serves clients on six continents with engineering and operations services for environmental, energy, water, transportation and industrial infrastructure.